February 27, 2017

Crystal Ball: What Issues Will the President Highlight in His Address to Congress on February 28?

By Bryan R. Tackett

This coming Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump will address his first special joint session of Congress. In this speech, he will be communicating his expectations and agenda to the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as well as to the American people. This speech will be an opportunity for the President to reemphasize his priorities and reiterate his stances on the significant policy issues he would like to accomplish in sum, or begin in earnest, as the clock ticks down on his first 100 days in office. Top policy priorities President Trump is scheduled to address include:

  • Health Care: The President campaigned heavily on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, looking to implement changes that ensure coverage for all Americans with lower costs and better coverage. Congressional Republicans are working on a legislative plan to achieve this goal; however, procedural challenges coupled with growing public concern could delay a full repeal and replacement effort.
  • Comprehensive Tax Reform: During the campaign, Mr. Trump’s tax plan included four principles: relief for the middle class, simplification, economic growth, and deficit and debt neutrality. Congressional Republicans are eager to work with the President to revamp the U.S. tax code. Tax reform is complex, made more-so because Congress needs to find offsets for revenues lost through reductions in other rates, resulting in winners and losers.
  • Domestic Infrastructure: On election night, Mr. Trump spoke specifically about creating jobs and spurring economic growth by investing in American infrastructure. While debate remains about the effectiveness of infrastructure spending in achieving these goals, there is no doubt that funding will be a significant hurdle, particularly amid discussions on tax reform. Infrastructure spending historically is a bipartisan issue and the President may find that Democrats could be willing partners.
  • Border Security: The President’s public statements illustrate his steadfast interest in securing the nation’s borders, including a recent administration announcement of the intention to hire approximately 15,000 new border agents. While there is great Congressional and public debate and disagreement about his specific proposed policies and approaches to homeland security, he is likely to mention his administration’s policy of more aggressively enforcing existing immigration laws and raise his intention to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

The President may also mention other issues and positions, such as financial services reforms and changes to existing Dodd-Frank regulations, his continued opposition to large trade deals, his efforts to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S., and steps his administration is taking to reduce regulatory burdens for U.S. businesses.

To watch or listen to the speech, you can tune in at 9 p.m. ET on any major network, or catch it without commentary via C-SPAN.

The Faegre Baker Daniels website uses cookies to make your browsing experience as useful as possible. In order to have the full site experience, keep cookies enabled on your web browser. By browsing our site with cookies enabled, you are agreeing to their use. Review Faegre Baker Daniels' cookies information for more details.