U.S. President Donald Trump spoke before his first joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening and used his address to outline some of his key policies before U.S. lawmakers as he seeks to build more unity on Capitol Hill and shed some of the controversies that have followed him, ranging from protests over his immigration ban to his administration’s past ties with Russia.
Admitting a new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning, Trump recalled the progress he’s already made in the Oval Office since his inauguration on January 20th, but gave few specific details about his tax reforms that are still hanging in the balance and will require some bipartisan support.
U.S. stocks indexes have rallied to all time highs and have added $3 trillion since Trump’s election win in early November on the expectation that his fiscal policies, consisting of tax cuts, lower regulations, and infrastructure spending, will serve to grow the U.S. economy.
But Trump hasn’t defined the size and scope of his proposed tax cuts which will impact both businesses and American households.
“My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class” Trump said.
Stating he believes strongly in free trade, Trump emphasized it must also be fair trade.
Trump laid the groundwork for raising tariffs on imports and making it easier for companies to do business in the United States, and much harder for companies to leave.
“Currently, when we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes but when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them almost nothing” Trump said.
Trump said he has begun to undertake a historic effort to “massively reduce” job crushing regulations and cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines which he declared will create tens of thousands of jobs.
However, the vast majority of those pipeline jobs will only be short-term jobs.
Admitting he doesn’t want to allow the mistakes of recent decades to define the course of the future, Trump said that we’ve watched the middle class shrink as we’ve exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries.
Trump blended that message with a non-interventionist mindset that questions the logic of past policy decisions to spend trillions nation-building and defending borders of other countries while neglecting America’s own border and aging infrastructure.
“We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate. And we’ve spent trillions of dollars overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled.”
Trump claimed that America has spent approximately six trillion dollars in the Middle East while noting the U.S. infrastructure is crumbling and in need of rebuilding through a proposed $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States, financed from both public and private capital.
Repealing and replacing Obamacare remains a priority for Trump who called it “collapsing” and said that he’s calling on Congress to support “reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare.”
Republicans have faced angry Americans showing up recently at townhall meetings across the country with loud concerns about tossing out Obamacare while having no viable comprehensive replacement healthcare plan on the table that keeps costs down and still offers good health care coverage.
During his speech on Tuesday, Trump offered 4 principles that he said should guide Congress to create a better healthcare system:
- Ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage along with a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges.
- Help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts, according to the plan they want, not the plan “forced” on them by the government.
- Give State Governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out.
- Implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance while working to bring down the artificially high price of drugs.
Trump advocated for the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines to give a more competitive national marketplace which he maintained will bring cost way down and provide far better care.
Trump spoke about building a “great wall” along the southern border that he claimed will be a will be a very effective “weapon” against drugs and crime.
Trump also called for a merit based immigration system that resembles nations around the world such as Canada and Australia with its basic principle stating those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially.