US President Donald Trump Delivers First Speech to Congress

© REUTERS / Carlos BarriaU.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2017. - Sputnik International
Delivering his first address before Congress, US President Donald Trump spoke on Tuesday on the issues of economic policy, health care, infrastructure, and military spending as well as the fight against terrorism.

Trump started his adress by decrying threats to Jewish centers and incidents involving Jewish cemeteries, that occurred across the country over the past month.


The American president called on Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare and announced sending to Congress a budget that will eliminate the defense sequester and boost national defense spending.

"I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare," Trump said in his prepared remarks ahead of his address to Congress on Tuesday.

US-Mexico Border Wall

Talking on the construction of the border wall between the US and Mexico that he has been advocated for since the beginning of the presidential campaign, Trump said that the construction  will begin ahead of schedule.

“We will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border,” Trump said Tuesday night. “It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime.”

On January 25, Trump signed an executive order putting Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in charge of building the wall.


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Trump outlined his view on the immigration issue, promising a comprehensive reform to be implemented. He stressed that the United States need to change the current system of utilizing lower-skilled immigration and adopt a merit-based system.

"Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit based system, will have many benefits: it will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families — including immigrant families — enter the middle class," Trump said during his Congressional speech on Tuesday evening.

Trump highlighted his belief that an efficient immigration reform is possible in the United States.

“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws,” Trump said.

Support for Law Enforcement

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The US president drew attention to record high crime rates in the country, reaffirming his strong support for boosting effectiveness of the country's law enforcement.

“The murder rate so far this year has been even higher…we must build bridges of cooperation and trust, not drive the wedge of disunity and division,” Trump said Tuesday night. “Police and sheriffs are members of our community.”

He pointed out that the murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.

The president also added that more than 4,000 people were shot in 2016 in the city of Chicago in the US state of Illinois.

'Historic' Tax Reform

The US administration is preparing a major tax reform that will allow American businesses to compete anywhere in the world, Trump said.

"My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone," Trump said in his remarks on Tuesday.

The US government respects the rights of all nations to follow their own policies and chart their own paths, the president added.

“[The] United States respects the right of all nations to chart their own path,” Trump said in his speech on Tuesday night.

Infrastructure Rebuilding

Speaking on the poor condition of infrastructure that has been underfunded for a long time, Trump promised to ask Congress to approve legislation to invest a trillion dollars for rebuilding.

“I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States, financed through both public and private capital, creating millions of new jobs,” Trump said Tuesday night.

Trump claimed the US has spent an estimated $6 trillion in the Middle East, which could have been enough to rebuild the US infrastructure at least two times.

The time has come for another initiative of national rebuilding since former President Dwight D. Eisenhower initiated the building of the interstate highway system, Trump stated.


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Speaking on global fight with terrorism, Trump vowed that the US will work with allies, including those in the Muslim World to sweep Daesh from the face of the Earth.

“We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim World, to extinguish this vile enemy [Daesh] from our planet,” Trump said.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Monday briefed the National Security Council’s principals committee on the plan to defeat Daesh.

Also on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that the plan to defeat Daesh will be funded properly under Trump’s budget that boosts US defense spending by $54 billion.


Touching on the NATO issue, Trump said the United States strongly endorses the bloc, but noted that all the member of the alliance have to pay a fair share.

"We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism," Trump stated. "We expect our partners, whether in NATO, in the Middle East, or the Pacific — to take a direct and meaningful role in both strategic and military operations, and pay their fair share of the cost."

On February 20, US Vice President Mike Pence said that the United States was expecting Europe to fulfill their promises on defense just like Washington was doing and that "the patience of the American people will not endure forever."

Only five NATO countries, including the United States, currently meet the 2 percent of GDP defense budget requirement.

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