President Trump has given his first address to the joint session of Congress Tuesday, Feb. 28, where he laid out his agenda and asked for the support of both the House and Senate.
To anyone who has followed Trump’s speeches will recognize many of the topics and phrases that he has used throughout his campaign and early presidential addresses.
Trump started the address with acknowledging that it is Black History Month as well as the rise of threats against the Jewish community. This comes after some Jewish organizations have condemned the President’s suggestion that the attacks may have been planned to “make others look bad.”
President Trump went over many of his accomplishments during the first month of his president. He talked about establishing a deregulation task force and enforcing a rule that for every new regulation must be accompanied with getting rid of two regulations. His executive order calls for the agency that the new regulation falls under must find two old ones that can be deregulated at some point in the future.
He also mentioned his approval of the Dakota and XL pipelines, his five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials, a lifetime ban on becoming a lobbyist for a foreign government and his order to withdraw from the TPP.
Trump also said he wants to dismantle criminal cartels in the United States while expanding treatment for addiction, but did not give specifics on how he would do so.
On immigration, Trump went over many of the same talking points that he gave during his campaign and went over the construction of the southern border wall. He also said that he is in favor of adopting a merit-based system on immigration. Trump talked about different systems, such as one that would allow only people who are able to fully support themselves into the country, or allowing only high-skilled immigrants to be eligible for a visa. Trump also said that he has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office called the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, or VOICE, that will “serve American victims.”
Trump reaffirmed the United States alliance with the state of Israel and called for further fights against terrorism, partly by calling for more vetting procedures in the immigration process.
He also said that he must “acknowledge circumstances we have inherited,” and talked about losses in the manufacturing industry, trade deficit and “tragic foreign policy disasters.”
On the economy, he called for “massive tax relief for the middle class,” and a change to taxes of American companies on the international market.
“I believe strongly in free trade, but I also believe in fair trade,” Trump said.
On infrastructure, Trump asked Congress to produce legislation that will approve one trillion dollars to rebuild infrastructure around the nation, one that will use American products and hire American workers and be paid for both publicly and privately. During his campaign, Trump’s plan was to give tax cuts to private investors that plan to create revenue-based projects such as toll roads or bridges.
Trump also called for repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, one that will use tax credits and health savings accounts, open health insurance across state lines, give block grants to states to use for Medicaid, and assure new parents that they will have paid family leave. Trump also called for relaxing the FDA’s drug approval process.
On education, Trump asked Congress to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth. He calls for a $20-billion voucher program that applies to those living in poverty.
Trump said that he has sent Congress a budget that builds military as well as the elimination of the defense sequester and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in national history as well as increased funding for veterans.
Trump said that he strongly supports NATO, but that they must “meet their financial obligations.”
Trump ended his speech by asking Americans to have a vision for a better future, a future where the “cures to the illnesses that have always plagued us are not too much to hope,” and “millions lifted from welfare to work is not too much to expect, and streets where mothers are safe from fear, schools where children can learn in peace, and jobs where Americans prosper and grow are not too much to ask.”
Trump said that when America celebrated its 250-year anniversary, “we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of American greatness began.”