State of the Union? Still Unclear … Our Top Takeaways

On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, President Donald Trump gave his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress and the American people. The speech itself was quite long, running 82 minutes in total, making it the third longest State of the Union speech ever delivered. During the address President Trump covered a wide variety of issues, so we’ve gone ahead and put together our “Top Takeaways” from the 2019 State of the Union.

TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Strong Economic Growth – President Trump emphasized what he believes is one of his biggest strengths, the U.S. economy, which continues to grow. Trump reminded viewers of the massive tax reform package that was passed last year and touted the many regulations his administration has cut.
  • Immigration – President Trump stuck to familiar rhetoric railing against “illegal” immigrants, and stoking fears of violence, criminals, drugs, and sex trafficking. President Trump also reiterated his belief that building a wall will make the country safer.
  • Women on the Rise – President Trump proudly highlighted that women are taking many of the new jobs created in the country. In a show of bipartisanship, Trump also acknowledged that there are now more women serving in Congress than ever before. The President did not mention however that the number of Republican women in Congress dropped after the 2018 elections.
  • Trade – President Trump underscored the new USMCA trade agreement that would replace the “historic trade blunder… and catastrophe known as NAFTA.” On trade, President Trump touched upon the ongoing trade war with China. The President spoke highly of Chinese President Xi Jinping and seemed optimistic that the tariffs being imposed would lead to a more equitable trading partnership between the two nations.
  • Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs – President Trump declared lowering the price of prescription drugs to be a priority for his administration going forward, calling on Congress to pass legislation to tackle this issue. The President stated that he believes “we should require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down.” For what is a bipartisan issue, no additional details were given as to how this goal might be achieved.
  • Military Spending – President Trump called for an additional $700billion this year in military spending.
  • Infrastructure – President Trump stressed rebuilding the country’s infrastructure as a main priority, but did not propose any specific policies or investment.
  • Paid Family Leave – President Trump argued that his upcoming budget would be the first to include a plan for paid family leave. Although it is unclear at this time what that plan will actually look like.

As you can see, President Trump covered an extensive array of legislative priorities in his address. Not surprisingly, President Trump did not mention the recent government shutdown notwithstanding the fact of another rapidly approaching. The President also did not give any indication as to how he plans to lead facing a new challenge in his term, a divided Congress. Despite highlighting some issues that would garner bipartisan support, President Trump’s speech was often light on actual legislative details.

With the President’s fiscal year 2020 Budget scheduled to be released in the next few weeks, stay tuned for our detailed analysis as the budget will likely provide further insight into President Trump’s priorities moving forward.

To read the 2019 State of the Union in its entirety, click here

 

Authored by Aidan Camas