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President Trump Addresses Joint Session of Congress

On February 28, President Donald Trump gave his first address to a joint session of Congress. The president’s remarks focused on the several key themes, including health care, the economy, and immigration.

The president reiterated his promise to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), also known as the ACA or Obamacare. He outlined several principles designed to guide health care reform efforts: ensure coverage for Americans with pre-existing health conditions, and a stable transition for individuals currently enrolled in health care exchanges; allow individuals to purchase insurance using tax credits and expanded health savings accounts; give states the flexibility to administer Medicaid; implement legal reforms to protect against increased costs; and allow individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines.

Citing efforts to encourage economic growth, the president noted that his administration is developing tax reform that would allow American companies to “compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone” and “massive tax relief for the middle class.” The president also stated that “with the help of [Canadian] Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we have formed a council…to help ensure that women entrepreneurs have access to the networks, markets, and capital they need to start a business and live out their financial dreams.” As part of his economic proposals, the president said that his “administration wants to work with…both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents have paid family leave, [and] to invest in women’s health.”

The president outlined his plan for immigration reform, noting that a change to a merit-based immigration system would “save countless dollars, raise workers’ wages, and help struggling families – including immigrant families – enter the middle class.” The president also linked the need for immigration reform with national security, saying “[W]e cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists. That is why my administration has been working on improved vetting procedures and we will shortly take new steps to keep our nation safe.”

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