February 28, 2017
Trump’s Speech to Congress will be a Chance for a Reset
Trump’s speech to Congress is a chance for a reset
Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:47pm GMT
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump gets a chance to put the rocky start to his presidency behind him on Tuesday night with a speech to the U.S. Congress where he will lay out his plans for the year including a healthcare overhaul and military buildup.
The speech at 9 p.m. (0200 GMT Wednesday) in the chamber of the House of Representatives will be Trump’s biggest chance yet as president to command a large prime-time audience and describe his agenda after a first month in office characterized by missteps, internal dramas and acrimonious disputes with the news media.
The address, which Trump has been writing with aide Stephen Miller and others, will include some gestures toward unifying a country polarized by a bitterly fought election and divided in the early days of his presidency.
An average of recent polls by Real Clear Politics put his approval rating at about 44 percent, low for a new president.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the theme of the speech to Congress, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, would be “the renewal of the American spirit” and that it would be grounded in how to solve the problems of everyday Americans.
“He will invite Americans of all backgrounds to come together in the service of a stronger and brighter future for our nation,” Spicer told reporters on Monday.
Trump, whose inauguration speech on Jan. 20 painted a dark picture of the United States and referred to “American carnage,” told Reuters last week in an interview that his address would be a speech of optimism.
The president faces a host of questions going into his first speech before a joint session of Congress.
Specifics of his plan to overhaul former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law have not been released. He has yet to describe how to pay for a sharp increase in planned spending on rebuilding U.S. roads and bridges.
His proposals to cut taxes for millions of people and corporations have not been sketched out. His strategy for renegotiating international trade deals remains unclear. He took delivery on Monday of a Pentagon proposal for fighting Islamic State militants and must decide on it in the days ahead.
He seeks a big increase in defense spending but that plan includes a demand that non-defense federal agencies cut funds to offset the cost, painful reductions likely to face opposition in Congress. Some Republicans have said the proposed 10 percent defense spending increase is not enough to meet the military’s needs.
Asked in a Fox News interview broadcast on Tuesday how he would pay for the increased spending, Trump said, “I think the money is going to come from a revved up economy.”