January 30, 2018

State of the Union Preview: First-Year Accomplishments

TAXES CUT: Republicans provided tax relief to American families by enacting the first major tax reform in 31 years. Americans are already seeing the benefits of tax relief, including at least 3 million employees who have gotten direct benefits. At least 264 companies have announced pay hikes, bonuses, or other compensation because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. These include AT&T, Walmart, Comcast, Disney, Apple, JPMorgan Chase, and Starbucks. Ninety percent of American workers will see larger paychecks in February as employers adjust withholding levels.   

RED TAPE SLASHED: Congress repealed 15 regulations through the Congressional Review Act, saving $36 billion in compliance costs. The Trump administration issued 22 deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action.

TWO MILLION NEW JOBS ADDED: The unemployment rate fell to a 17-year low, and the economy added more than 2 million jobs. Of these, 196,000 are new manufacturing jobs.

ECONOMIC CONFIDENCE SURGES: The economy reversed years of Obama stagnation. Two-thirds of Americans report confidence in the economy, the highest portion in 17 years. The economy grew at annualized rates of 3.1, 3.2, and 2.6 percent in the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2017. Consumer confidence hit a 17-year high in November, and Americans’ satisfaction with the economy jumped 12 percentage points from a year earlier. Business confidence is the highest it’s been since 2004.

JUSTICE GORSUCH CONFIRMED: In February, President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a widely respected, mainstream, conservative judge, to the Supreme Court. Senate Republicans confirmed Justice Gorsuch in early April.

THE JUDICIARY RESHAPED: In addition to Justice Gorsuch, the Senate confirmed 22 of President Trump’s judicial picks. President Obama had only 14 judicial nominees confirmed in his first year. Twelve of President Trump’s nominees were judges on the courts of appeal, beginning the process of refocusing courts on the rule of law.

OBAMACARE MANDATE REPEALED: Congress effectively repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate, as of 2019. In addition, President Trump issued an executive order designed to increase consumer choice and insurer competition by expanding association health plans, short-term limited-duration health plans, health reimbursement arrangements, and sales of insurance across state lines.

CHIP REAUTHORIZED: Reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years, providing stable funding for the nearly 9 million kids enrolled in CHIP coverage.   

ENERGY DOMINANCE UNLEASHED: The administration approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Congress opened the coastal plain area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for energy development, ending a 37-year fight over ANWR.

ISIS CALIPHATE “ON THE RUN”: The administration updated the rules of engagement for fighting terrorists. As a result, the military made substantial progress in the war in Afghanistan and against ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul and Raqqa.

 RED LINE IN SYRIA ENFORCED: The U.S. military struck an airfield in Syria in retaliation for the Assad regime’s chemical weapons attack against its own people. With this action, President Trump enforced President Obama’s red line against the use of chemical weapons in Syria.