What’s In Store For The Trump Administration’s First 100 Days?


   President elect Donald Trump will be sworn in on Jan. 20th and take office with Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate. That should make it easier to deliver on the rather lengthy list of actions that he has pledged to take during his first 100 days in office.
   But as President Obama experienced, having the same party in control of both the White House and Congress doesn’t always guarantee that everything will happen as planned.
   In May 2008, then Senator Barack Obama told Univision that he would tackle immigration during his first year in office. But he was unable to deliver a comprehensive reform bill even though both the House and Senate were controlled by his fellow Democrats.
   A closer look at the 100-day plan that Trump pledged to deliver on the campaign trail included a few things that have already been given the cold shoulder by his fellow Republicans. For example, a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress was dismissed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said it would not be on the Senate agenda next year.
   And President-elect Donald Trump is already running into resistance from the House Republican leadership over his threat to impose stiff tariffs on companies that make goods in other countries and outsource jobs. 
   Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., stopped short of saying the tariff would be dead on arrival, but he said Republicans were wary of provoking retaliation from other countries and that passing corporate tax reform was the better solution to keeping and attracting companies in the U.S.
   However, Trump supporters don’t expect their new president-elect to deliver on everything he promised. What they do expect is a lot of change from the status quo and leadership that helps the American economy thrive. In that regards, there are several areas where Republicans have been eager to deliver on some of the changes that President-elect Trump pledged to make. Here are five: 
   1. Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:  Trump pledged to repeal “Obamacare” and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and lets states manage Medicaid funds. He’s got a lot of willing partners in Congress.
   House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said during an interview with 60 Minutes last week that this is his top priority. 
   “We’ve got to repeal and replace Obamacare because that is really hurting families,” Ryan said. Beginning in January, the Speaker said Congress will put in place a budget mechanism to repeal the healthcare act and develop the best policies to replace it. Some provisions, like those that allow someone with pre-existing conditions to obtain coverage and for children up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ health care plan would remain. 
   Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also echoed an early January time frame for taking action on repealing “Obamacare,” but has cautioned supporters that it might take a while to get the policies and the funding to work. 
   2. Roll back regulations. Trump repeatedly pledged to remove the regulatory burden on businesses – including farms and ranches - during his campaign. He also said that, during his first 100 days, he would enact a requirement that, for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.
   House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway is confident that regulatory relief will be high on the new administration’s priority list, starting with the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. He also expects the administration will kill EPA’s greenhouse house gas regulations for electric utilities and the Labor Department’s overtime rule, which has negatively affected many businesses and is currently on hold in the courts.
   The ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, also is looking for the new administration to kill chunks of President Obama’s regulatory agenda and slow the acquisition of public lands. “They’re going to roll back a lot of these regulations that farmers have been upset about. That will be seen as very positive,” Peterson said.
   And in his 60 Minutes interview, Speaker Ryan said, “There are a lot of regulations that are really just crushing jobs. Look at the coal miners in the Rust Belt that are getting out of work. Look at the loggers and the timber workers and the paper mills in the West Coast. Look at the ranchers or farmers in the Midwest with regulations. 
   “We have a real economic growth problem in America. We are limping along. Wages are flat. And jobs aren’t being created near to the extent that they could and should be. So we think regulatory relief is very, very important. And that’s something we’re going to work on day one.” 
   3. Reform the tax code.  When asked by a CNBC news interviewer the day after elections whether several important pieces of president-elect Trump’s tax reform plan aligned with House Republicans’ “Tax Reform Task Force Blueprint,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, declared, “Yes, yes, and yes!” Contacted by Agri-Pulse, an aide to Brady confirmed that the congressman would “will move quickly on tax reform in the new year.”
   Pat Wolff, tax specialist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the Trump and House GOP plans “are not exactly the same, but they’re similar.” She says what Ways and Means, the House tax-writing panel, extracts from the proposed blueprint, could benefit farm budgets. “The trick is that farmers and other businesses would have to give up deductions and tax credits in exchange for a lower tax rates.”
   Congressional Republicans have been focusing on reducing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, while President-elect Trump’s plan is to reduce it to 15 percent. Speaker Ryan says he hopes to end up somewhere between 15-20 percent. The seven individual tax brackets would be consolidated to three: 15 percent; 25 percent, and a 33 percent bracket. 
   The House blueprint begins by eliminating all itemized deductions except the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable contribution deduction. Thus, for example, the deduction for net interest costs, a typically major write-off for farmers, would disappear. Until you know the details, Wolff says, “it’ll be hard to say whether you come out ahead or behind.”
   4. Renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and drop out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As president, Trump could do both, or in the case of TPP, just assure that the legislation does not get sent to Congress for a vote. With NAFTA, leaders from both Mexico and Canada have signaled that they are willing to talk – but that they also would like to see changes made that would benefit their respective countries. 
   Farmers and ranchers are probably most nervous about Trump’s pledges on trade, with ag exports accounting for about 20 percent of net farm income.
   “I’m hopeful that Mr. Trump will unleash his trade experts on the various agreements, find out what specifically is wrong with them, and work toward helping us to an understanding on that,” said Chairman Conaway.
   5. Secure the border and tackle illegal immigration. When Trump becomes president, he will be free to revoke or modify orders issued by President Obama. For example, Trump has promised to immediately terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) which deferred deportation and allowed immigrants to apply for work permits – making an estimated 750,000 undocumented people who arrived in the United States as children subject to deportation. And he has repeatedly pledged to build a wall along our southern border and make Mexico pay for it. During his first 100 days, he plans to remove the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won't take them back.
   Speaker Ryan said that Trump will focus on border control in whatever way makes the most sense. While a wall may be warranted in some places, other spots may just need double fencing or some other type of barrier, Ryan added. ∆
   Editor’s note: Agri-Pulse Senior Editor Philip Brasher and Contributing Editor Ed Maixner also contributed to this story. 
   SARA WYANT: Editor of Agri-Pulse, a weekly e-newsletter covering farm and rural policy. To contact her, go to: http://www.agri-pulse.com/
MidAmerica Farm Publications, Inc
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