Repealing Obamacare. Renegotiating NAFTA. Building the border wall. Cutting taxes. Rebuilding roads and airports.
None of it happened in the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency — but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the next 100, if you ask the White House and Republican leaders.
More than three months into the Trump Administration, many of the biggest promises the President made for the first three months of his tenure remain unfulfilled.
During his campaign, Trump said that in the first 100 days he would repeal Obamacare, begin work on the border wall with Mexico, increase training of police officers, remake NAFTA and label China a currency manipulator, among other things. The president has barely anything to show from this ambitious wish list, partly because he has been unable to steer legislation through Congress (like passing a tax plan, for example) and partly because Trump himself has not taken some executive actions he’d said he’d take (like pull out of the Paris climate accord).
Trump and Republican leaders are now brushing off the importance of the 100-day marker, with Trump calling it a “ridiculous standard” and House Speaker Paul Ryan giving him cover.
“You know me. I talk about 200 days,” said Ryan on Thursday.
On the docket for the next 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency are more or less the same items as the first, though it’s clear that he’s on to a more focused list of goals. His success will depend in part on his ability to work with Congress. Considering the challenges of the last 100 days, the next three months may look pretty similar: plenty of commitments and less action.
The border wall
After making overtures about pushing for money for the wall in the government funding bill due on Friday, the President backed off, rather than risk a government shutdown. But he’s promised to build the wall at some point in the future — in some form — despite skepticism from many in his own party.
“I think Trump’s backed off the wall,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had dinner with the president this week. “I got the sense that he’s not going to take this fight too far, that he understands border security’s important, that he’s not going to overplay his hand.”
More likely than not, Trump will have to settle for some increased border security as part of a broader deal on immigration or government funding, which could include drones, surveillance, border patrols and some fencing.
“We hope to begin construction by the end of the summer,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told CNN. “Clearly, we’re not going to build a wall in an afternoon.”
The President said he would introduce a tax legislation in the first 100 days; on Wednesday, he announced a broad-strokes plan, but no legislative language. Over the next weeks and months, Trump will likely work with Congress to turn the proposal into some kind of bill.
Trump’s current proposal would cost at least $9.5 trillion over 10 years, according to analyses, cut the 35 percent corporate income tax to 15 percent, the top income tax rates for the richest Americans ($470,000 for a married couple) to 35 percent and eliminate the estate tax.
The problem is that in order for tax reform to pass, it will either need to pass as a budget reconciliation — meaning that it needs to be deficit neutral — or it will need Democratic votes in the Senate, requiring it to be a bipartisan bill. Both those paths look unlikely right now.
The President vowed to sign a bill to repeal Obamacare “immediately,” suggesting he would do so in his first days of office. Trump has been unable to corral enough votes in Congress despite extensive personally lobbying lawmakers.
A new agreement negotiated between conservatives in Congress and Rep. Tom MacArthur, a moderate from New Jersey may have a better chance of passing. It would allow states to opt out of requiring insurance companies to cover certain care (like emergency services), and allow insurers to charge people with preexisting conditions more. According to a score by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill would raise premiums and increase the number of uninsured.
While President Trump and conservatives in Congress have voiced their support, it’s not clear whether Republicans will have enough votes to repeal Obamacare under the new agreement. House Republican leaders have delayed a vote to try to rally more support.
The White House signaled it will take a hard line on North Korea, with Vice President Mike Pence saying last week the “era of strategic patience is over” and President Trump warning in a Reuters interview that a “major, major” conflict with North Korea is possible.
Over the next weeks and months, the White House will seek to push China to wind down economic relations with North Korea, which relies on its larger neighbor for approximately 70% of its total trade. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned on Friday that the United States is willing to take military action against the rogue state, which has developed nuclear weapons, but that the U.S. is open to talks.
After the White House first signaled this week it would terminate NAFTA, Trump backed up and said he would merely renegotiate the massive trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. It is a gargantuan task: the United States relies heavily on trade with both its neighbors, which are its second- and third-largest trade partners. Supply chains between the two countries are deeply intertwined, so any changes to the trade agreement could have an outsize effect on American industries.
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