President Trump has signed more bills into law "than any president previously before at this stage in the game."

Devin Nunes on Monday, June 19th, 2017 in a radio interview

Nunes gets it wrong; Trump hasn’t signed ‘more bills’ than any president at this point

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California

President Donald Trump is quick to list his accomplishments.

On June 23, 2017, he tweeted "I’ve helped pass and signed 38 Legislative Bills, mostly with no Democratic support, and gotten rid of massive amounts of regulations. Nice!"

Trump was correct about the number. He omitted the fact, however, that few of these created substantive legislative change, as NPR reported. Fifteen of the bills "reversed Obama-era rules and regulations. Others renamed federal buildings, provided for the creation of memorials or were related to personnel or government spending."

Some Trump supporters, including California Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, also have made problematic claims about the president’s accomplishments.

A reader suggested we fact-check this claim, made by Nunes on Fresno’s KMJ radio, about Trump’s bill signings:

"The news media hasn’t covered this. But we have actually got more bills signed into law, more bills signed into law, this Congress working with this president, than any president previously before at this stage in the game," Nunes said on June 19, 2017, in an interview with host Ray Appleton.

He made this claim on Trump’s 150th day in the White House. By that point, Trump had signed 39 bills into law, according to GovTrack.us, a legislative research and tracking website.

Nunes has gained additional attention in recent months, particularly for his actions as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

In April, he announced he was temporarily stepping away from leading that panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He cited ethics complaints that he mishandled classified information.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Nunes has stayed silent on Trump. In fact, he’s continued to praise the president’s actions.

We wondered whether the Nunes was right at the time he stated Trump had signed more bills "than any president previously before at this stage in the game."

Our research

PolitiFact California and our national partner PolitiFact have checked related claims.

In April, shortly after Trump’s 100th day in office, we rated as Mostly True California Rep. Tom McClintock’s statement that "President Trump has passed more legislation in his first 100 days than any president since Harry Truman."

We found Trump had indeed signed the most bills, 28, since Truman signed 55 during the first 100 days of his first full term. We clarified that, as of that time, none of the bills Trump had signed were major pieces of legislation.

That same month, PolitiFact rated False Trump’s claim that "no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days." It cited several presidential historians who said Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Truman and Barack Obama all accomplished more during their first 100 days in the White House.

Outdated claim

But as we noted earlier, Nunes made his assertion on Trump’s 150th day in office. He was specific about it, too, saying Trump had signed more bills than other presidents "at this stage in the game."

That’s simply not accurate, based on the research by GovTrack.us.

Not only did Roosevelt and Truman sign more bills through 150 days, so did Presidents Jimmy Carter, 48, and Bill Clinton with 41. President George H. W. Bush signed the same number as Trump, 39.

"I think it’s important that we all get the facts right," said Joshua Tauberer, founder of GovTrack.us. "When Nunes made that statement, his numbers were 50 days out of date."

Counting the number of bills signed is only one measure of a president’s accomplishment, Tauberer added, and perhaps an arbitrary one at that.

"If you count pages or words, Obama signed more than twice as much legislation at this point than Trump. It just happens that the legislation that went to Obama was grouped into fewer distinct bills," he said.

Reporting by the Washington Post also shows Trump’s bill signings fall short of other presidents’ totals through 150 days.

Asked about the claim, Nunes’ spokesman Jack Langer told us the congressman "was referring to it being the most bills signed in the first 100 days of a new administration since Truman." That would be accurate, if that’s what Nunes said. But it’s not.

Of note, Trump has signed 36 executive orders, more than any president in recent history during his first 150 days, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. The orders do not require congressional approval.

Our ruling

California Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, said on Trump’s 150th day in the White House that Trump had signed more bills into law "than any president previously before at this stage in the game."

Research from GovTrack.us and reporting by news outlets show Trump’s 39 bills signed into law trailed totals by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Carter and Clinton. It tied him with President George H. W. Bush’s total through this period.

The congressman’s claim would have been accurate had he cited the correct timeframe (the 100 day mark in office) and context (since President Truman).

Instead, he repeated an outdated talking point.

We rate Nunes’ statement False.

FALSE – The statement is not accurate.

Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.

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President Trump has signed more bills into law “than any president previously before at this stage in the game.”
Monday, June 19, 2017