Every president announces a slew of initiatives in a State of the Union address. Although President Trump’s first address to Congress in 2017 was not officially a State of the Union message, here, in order of delivery, is a summary of the key proposals, pledges or priorities he announced in February 2017 — and what happened to them.
Given Republican control of the White House, Senate and House, one might expect Trump to have a better track record on legislation. President Barack Obama did reasonably well in fulfilling his legislative priorities until Republicans won back control of Congress.
Trump: “We have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every government agency.”
Trump: “We’re going to stop the regulations that threaten the future and livelihood of our great coal miners.”
Trump did roll back a regulation, the Stream Protection Rule, which coal miners feared would lead to a reduction in jobs. But there has been little growth in coal jobs — 1 percent — since Trump took office, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Trump: “We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines — thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs.”
The Dakota Access pipeline was built, but the Keystone XL pipeline project has been stalled because Nebraska did not approve its preferred route through the state. The company has not said whether the project is financially feasible. The number of jobs involved in the project is frequently overstated.
Trump: “We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth, and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted.”
The data are mixed on the amount of drugs coming through the borders. The amount of marijuana seized at the border continues to decline, falling 31 percent from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017. But the amount of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine seized has soared in the past year, by 70 percent, 70 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
Trump: “We will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border.”
Trump has been unable to secure congressional approval to build the wall and appears to have made no progress in making Mexico pay for it. He hopes to win funding as part of an immigration deal.
Trump: “My administration has been working on improved vetting procedures, and we will shortly take new steps to keep our nation safe and to keep out those out who will do us harm.”
After defeats in the courts, Trump in September issued a third, watered-down version of his travel ban, indefinitely limiting entry into the United States from seven countries. It went into effect but will be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
Trump: “I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS — a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, and women, and children of all faiths and all beliefs.”
Trump inherited a plan from Obama, who had organized an international coalition against the terror group. Experts credit Trump with some tactical shifts that may have stepped up the tempo — though the number of civilian deaths has soared as a result.
Trump: “We have chosen Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, a man of incredible skill and deep devotion to the law. . . . I am asking the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination.”
The Senate in April confirmed Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in a mostly party-line 54-to-45 vote, after Republicans invoked the “nuclear option” to thwart a Democratic filibuster that would have required 60 votes.
Trump: “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.”
The tax plan passed by Congress cut the top corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, though few companies actually paid the top rate.
Trump: “We will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.”
Workers in every income category will experience a reduction in income taxes under the tax plan, but the majority of the cuts go to the wealthy (who pay most income taxes). Whether the tax relief for middle-class Americans is “massive” is subject to dispute. More than three-quarters of the $1.1 trillion in individual tax cuts will go to people who earn more than $200,000 a year, or 5 percent of taxpayers, Moody’s says.
Trump: “We must create a level playing field for American companies and our workers.”
Except in individual cases with certain products, Trump has not followed up on his proposal to impose tariffs on imports.
Trump: “I am going to bring back millions of jobs.”
About 1.8 million jobs have been created during Trump’s first year. This is the slowest rate of job creation than any year since 2010.
Trump: “Protecting our workers also means reforming our system of legal immigration. . . . Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, we will have so many more benefits.”
Trump has not won congressional approval of this proposal, though he hopes to win a deal as part of a package that would give a path to citizenship for “dreamers” who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents as children or who overstayed their visas as children.
Trump: “To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States — financed through both public and private capital — creating millions of new jobs.”
Trump has not offered an infrastructure plan, and Congress has not acted on one.
Trump: “I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs and, at the same time, provide better health care.”
Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed.
Trump: “The time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care.”
Trump signed an executive order calling for insurance to be sold across state lines but little progress has been made in implementing it.
Trump: “My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave.”
Trump’s child-care plan was not accepted by Congress, though the tax plan did double the child tax credit.
Trump: “I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African American and Latino children.”
No such bill was passed, though the tax plan did modify tax-advantaged 529 savings accounts so that families can use them to save for private K-12 school as well as college. But this will mostly benefit wealthier Americans, not the disadvantaged.
Trump: “I am sending Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the defense sequester and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.”
Trump submitted a budget plan with a boost in military spending, but the sequester has not been eliminated despite bipartisan support.
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