What will President Trump say in tonight’s speech? Let’s hope we hear the words “balanced budget,” “regulatory reform,” and “freedom.” Bonus if he mentions the Constitution.
Tonight’s speech is not a State of the Union Address. Traditionally, a president waits a year before delivering a State of the Union. Tonight’s speech will be an address to a joint session to outline President’s goals.
Such addresses are more than a tradition. According to the Constitution, presidents “shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” President George Washington delivered the first such speech in 1790.
Tonight President Trump is expected to speak about tax and regulatory reform, a replacement for Obamacare reform, and education reform. On regulatory reform, President Trump has already begun to work with Congress. Today he is signing an executive order to instruct the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider the Waters of the United States rule. Under this overreaching regulation, the federal government has exerted control over small bodies of water such creeks and seasonal ponds on private farm and ranch property.
The president should outline more ways he intends to reduce government regulation over health care, farms and businesses, and education. Less government regulation means Americans will be freer to make their own decisions in these areas.
President Trump will also discuss his budget, due out in mid-March. Traditionally, the administration submits a budget to Congress for guidance and Congress produces a final budget and 12 appropriations to fund the federal government. Since 1998, the gridlocked Congress has not followed regular order and has relied on “Continuing Resolutions” to fund the government.
President Trump should urge Congress to produce a “balanced budget” that offsets any new spending on the military, which he has proposed. It’s time to make cuts. Twenty trillion dollars in national debt is high enough. When the Federal Reserve increases interest rates later this year, Americans will pay millions more a day in interest to service the debt. Irresponsible debt spending is not a victimless crime.
Finally, President Trump should talk about the Constitution and limits on power. The President and Congress have only those powers delegated to them by the people through the Constitution. The remaining powers are reserved for state and communities and for the people themselves. Not only should President Trump respect separation of powers and federalism, he should use the bully pulpit to urge Congress to do the same, since they often forget.
What are your thoughts?
How can President Trump’s joint session address emphasize limits on government power and greater individual freedom?