Trump Highlights Policy Goals In Speech To Congress

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump said he’s ready to work with Congress to deliver on the promises Republicans made during the campaign while addressing GOP lawmakers at the Republican policy retreat in Philadelphia Thursday.

After thanking congressional leadership, Trump touted the accomplishments he’s made during his first days in office — highlighting how he has already signed executive orders to construct the border wall, increase deportations of illegal immigrants with criminal records, pull out of TPP and re-up work on the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines. He noted, however, there is still a lot of work to be done.

“I want to thank Majority Leader McConnell. great guy, and Speaker Paul Ryan, very, very special — and he is writing his heart out, right? And we’re actually going to sign this stuff that you’re writing, you’re not wasting your time,” he said. “He would write it and send it up and nothing would happen, but now it’s going to happen.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan laid out an ambitious agenda for the first 200 days of the administration on the first day of the retreat, and Trump said he is looking forward to kicking off the agenda by quickly repealing and replacing Obamacare.

“We have to get it going, I’m serious. If we waited two years, it’s going to explode like you’ve never seen an explosion — nobody is going to be able to afford it,” he said.

Trump put a strong emphasis on the need to increase border security, doubling down on his claim it’s possible to get Mexico to pay for the wall.

“We’re working on a tax reform bill that will reduce our trade deficits, increase American exports and will generate revenue from Mexico that will pay for the wall, if we decide to go that route,” he said. “It is time that the American people had a president fighting as hard for its citizens as other countries do for theirs.

Other priorities mentioned include ending sanctuary cities, building up the military, supporting law enforcement officials and renegotiating trade deals.

Trump noted Democrats have been holding up the confirmation process on a number of his cabinet nominees.

“They could move faster on the other side,” he told the crowd.

His infrastructure plan — a proposal that has drawn some criticism from fiscal conservatives due to its cost — was also highlighted in his speech.

“Our infrastructure is in serious trouble — we will build new roads and highways and tunnels and airports and railways across the nation,” he continued. “We will fix our existing product before we build anything brand-new, however, we have to fix what we have, it’s a mess so we’re going to fix it first.”

While most of the speech was met with cheer, members were notably quiet when he raised investigating voter fraud.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows praised the speech, noting he saw members of Congress giving standing ovations when they usually refrain from doing so.

“I would give him an A for his speech, and that’s being echoed by most of my colleague — I didn’t hear any complaints,” he told reporters.

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