Many of America’s voters are still stunned that Donald Trump was elected president and that includes some who voted for him but didn’t think he could win.
As such, American voters on both sides of the political aisle are scrambling to get a handle on what President Trump will try to get done in the weeks and months just ahead. I’m getting this question from lots of friends and business associates (as if I know).
What follows is a quick summary of what President Trump’s highest priorities are likely to be in his first 100 days in office. He will no doubt have plenty of other initiatives he’ll try in the first 100 days.
Obamacare Repeal and Replace
Trump often stated his desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In the plan for his first 100 days, he proposed repealing the law and replacing it with health savings accounts. He and the Republican-controlled Congress are in general agreement on this issue.
On January 12, the Senate passed a measure allowing it to pass ACA repeal legislation with a 51-vote majority, rather than the 60-vote majority usually required for important bills. The GOP has 52 seats in the chamber.
While the law might be repealed within the first 100 days, it remains less clear how long parts of the law will remain intact and what the replacement will look like.
Mr. Trump pledged to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), calling it “a potential disaster for our country.” Yesterday he formally withdrew the US from the TPP as promised. He also wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”).
President Trump also surprised many politicos yesterday by signing an Executive Order freezing hiring at almost all federal government agencies, with the exception of the military and certain public safety departments.
Mr. Trump campaigned on comprehensive tax reform including tax cuts for individuals and corporations, but the details are far from clear. He wants fewer individual tax brackets and the elimination of most tax deductions.
He also wants a special one-time tax cut for corporations to repatriate the trillions in profits that they currently hold outside the US. Of course, all of these tax cuts must be approved by Congress.
Trump maintained all along that border security would be one of his first orders of business. The details of any orders to secure the nation’s border are not known, but Trump made clear time and again on the campaign trail that securing the nation’s border with Mexico is a centerpiece of his agenda.
But before any wall can go up, it will have to go through Congress for approval and appropriations, which will slow the process. Ever since Mr. Trump was elected, I have continually cautioned that it will take longer than he suggests to get his policies enacted.
Included in Trump’s 100-day blueprint is the passage of the American Energy and Infrastructure Act. This legislation is described as a $1 trillion infrastructure investment over the next decade through public-private partnerships and private investments through tax incentives.
This initiative could be one of the few that manages to gain bipartisan support. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told ABC News that the measure “sounds good to me.” While Trump’s infrastructure plans may enjoy bipartisan support, it will take time to hammer out the details.
As for energy, Trump also pledged to roll back “job killing” energy regulations and declared himself a friend of clean coal. What’s unclear is which restrictions he means to target. This morning President Trump signed Executive Orders to reauthorize the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
These are just the highlights of Trump’s agenda for the first 100 days. There will be many other issues that I expect he will pursue in his first few months in office, including rolling back many cumbersome regulations.
I think we will all be surprised to see the swath of proposals he will seek to advance. How much success he will have remains to be seen. I’m not especially optimistic, especially since many of his proposals require congressional approval.
Gary D. Halbert is the president and chairman of Halbert Wealth Management, Inc. His Forecasts & Trends Weekly E-Letter may be obtained free of charge by subscribing at www.halbertwealth.com.