President Trump on Tuesday night was careful not to provide new details of his economic policy agenda. He reiterated his call for cut tax rates for businesses and individuals, and he mentioned the $1 trillion infrastructure plan that he wants Congress to authorize.
Both of these will be heavy lifts for lawmakers, but Trump is making a calculated decision by keeping specific policy prescriptions out of major speeches. It gives congressional leaders more room to maneuver when they aren’t boxed in by the White House. For example, the White House has given conflicting signals on whether it supports a border-adjustment tax. This has led to confusion on Capitol Hill and threatened to bog down the entire tax reform process.
Trump has promised he will provide Congress with details of his ideas to overhaul the tax code, and businesses are also clamoring for any detail of whether he will gut loopholes as a way to offset reduced rates. But for now, Trump played it safe, sticking to his longtime call for lower tax rates but avoiding other key details. The tricky negotiating, something he has long prided himself on, will have to come at a later date.