US President Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress

Trump’s Congress speech: promises $1tn for infrastructure, tax relief, but few details

Image credit: Reuters

In his first speech in front of the US Congress US President Donald Trump restated his commitment to boosting new infrastructure development and promised tax relief to US corporations. However, analysts said the speech offered little that wasn’t already known.

Trump pledged to invest $1 trillion into US infrastructure, also saying that the construction on his infamous wall at the Mexican border would begin soon. The infrastructure investment, to be funded through a mixture of private and public resources, will have to be approved by the Congress.

Trump hinted the developments will be governed by the ‘Buy American’ and ‘Hire American’ principles.

Trump also said his administration will carry out a “historic” reform of corporate tax, to reduce the burden on US companies to encourage their ability to compete globally. The President, however, offered no further details on the reform, other than restating that it would provide a “massive” relief to the middle class.

Speaking about immigration, one of the focal points of his campaign, Trump said the US will focus on reducing low-skilled immigration and adopt a merit-based work visa system similar to that used by Canada.

The immigration reform, Trump said, will focus on improving jobs and wages and strengthening the country's security.

“From an investor's perspective there was no new information, no surprises good or bad,” Steve Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco, told Reuters. “But he burnished his image, so there's a positive there. He's a pro-business president, so that's a good thing.”

Trump also plans to increase spending on military equipment by $54bn at the expense of foreign aid and environment programmes.

During the speech, the President also confirmed plans to replace Obamacare with a new healthcare scheme that “ensures that people with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage”.

While construction of the wall on the US-Mexico border is set to begin soon, according to Trump, it is still not clear whether Mexico will pay for it, as Trump repeatedly asserted during his presidential campaign.

E&T columnist Paul Dempsey gives his verdict on Trump’s speech in his latest View From Washington article.

E&T also covered the infrastructure campaign promises of both Trump and Hillary Clinton in our US election special last year.

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