REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP TO THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

World Economic Forum Congress Centre
Davos, Switzerland
January 26. 2018

2:02 P.M. CET

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you, Klaus, very much.  It’s a privilege to be here at this forum where leaders in business, science, art, diplomacy, and world affairs have gathered for many, many years to discuss how we can advance prosperity, security, and peace.

I’m here today to represent the interests of the American people and to affirm America’s friendship and partnership in building a better world.

Like all nations represented at this great forum, America hopes for a future in which everyone can prosper, and every child can grow up free from violence, poverty, and fear.

Over the past year, we have made extraordinary strides in the U.S.  We’re lifting up forgotten communities, creating exciting new opportunities, and helping every American find their path to the American Dream — the dream of a great job, a safe home, and a better life for their children.

After years of stagnation, the United States is once again experiencing strong economic growth.  The stock market is smashing one record after another, and has added more than $7 trillion in new wealth since my election.  Consumer confidence, business confidence, and manufacturing confidence are the highest they have been in many decades.

Since my election, we’ve created 2.4 million jobs, and that number is going up very, very substantially.  Small-business optimism is at an all-time high.  New unemployment claims are near the lowest we’ve seen in almost half a century.  African American unemployment has reached the lowest rate ever recorded in the United States, and so has unemployment among Hispanic Americans.

The world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America.  I’m here to deliver a simple message:  There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States.  America is open for business, and we are competitive once again.

The American economy is by far the largest in the world, and we’ve just enacted the most significant tax cuts and reform in American history.  We’ve massively cut taxes for the middle class and small businesses to let working families keep more of their hard-earned money.  We lowered our corporate tax rate from 35 percent, all the way down to 21 percent.  As a result, millions of workers have received tax cut bonuses from their employers in amounts as large as $3,000.

The tax cut bill is expected to raise the average American’s household income by more than $4,000.  The world’s largest company, Apple, announced plans to bring $245 billion in overseas profits home to America.  Their total investment into the United States economy will be more than $350 billion over the next five years.

Now is the perfect time to bring your business, your jobs, and your investments to the United States.  This is especially true because we have undertaken the most extensive regulatory reduction ever conceived.  Regulation is stealth taxation.  The U.S., like many other countries, unelected bureaucrats — and we have — believe me, we have them all over the place — and they’ve imposed crushing and anti-business and anti-worker regulations on our citizens with no vote, no legislative debate, and no real accountability.

In America, those days are over.  I pledged to eliminate two unnecessary regulations for every one new regulation.  We have succeeded beyond our highest expectations.  Instead of 2 for 1, we have cut 22 burdensome regulations for every 1 new rule.  We are freeing our businesses and workers so they can thrive and flourish as never before.  We are creating an environment that attracts capital, invites investment, and rewards production.

America is the place to do business.  So come to America, where you can innovate, create, and build.  I believe in America.  As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also.

But America first does not mean America alone.  When the United States grows, so does the world.  American prosperity has created countless jobs all around the globe, and the drive for excellence, creativity, and innovation in the U.S. has led to important discoveries that help people everywhere live more prosperous and far healthier lives.

As the United States pursues domestic reforms to unleash jobs and growth, we are also working to reform the international trading system so that it promotes broadly shared prosperity and rewards to those who play by the rules.

We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others.  We support free trade, but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal.  Because, in the end, unfair trade undermines us all.

The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies, and pervasive state-led economic planning.  These and other predatory behaviors are distorting the global markets and harming businesses and workers, not just in the U.S., but around the globe.

Just like we expect the leaders of other countries to protect their interests, as President of the United States, I will always protect the interests of our country, our companies, and our workers.

We will enforce our trade laws and restore integrity to our trading system.  Only by insisting on fair and reciprocal trade can we create a system that works not just for the U.S. but for all nations.

As I have said, the United States is prepared to negotiate mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all countries.  This will include the countries in TPP, which are very important.  We have agreements with several of them already. We would consider negotiating with the rest, either individually, or perhaps as a group, if it is in the interests of all.

My administration is also taking swift action in other ways to restore American confidence and independence.  We are lifting self-imposed restrictions on energy production to provide affordable power to our citizens and businesses, and to promote energy security for our friends all around the world.  No country should be held hostage to a single provider of energy.

America is roaring back, and now is the time to invest in the future of America.  We have dramatically cut taxes to make America competitive.  We are eliminating burdensome regulations at a record pace.  We are reforming the bureaucracy to make it lean, responsive, and accountable.  And we are ensuring our laws are enforced fairly.

We have the best colleges and universities in the world, and we have the best workers in the world.  Energy is abundant and affordable.  There has never been a better time to come to America.

We are also making historic investments in the American military because we cannot have prosperity without security.  To make the world safer from rogue regimes, terrorism, and revisionist powers, we are asking our friends and allies to invest in their own defenses and to meet their financial obligations.  Our common security requires everyone to contribute their fair share.

My administration is proud to have led historic efforts, at the United Nations Security Council and all around the world, to unite all civilized nations in our campaign of maximum pressure to de-nuke the Korean Peninsula.  We continue to call on partners to confront Iran’s support for terrorists and block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

We’re also working with allies and partners to destroy jihadist terrorist organizations such as ISIS, and very successfully so.  The United States is leading a very broad coalition to deny terrorists control of their territory and populations, to cut off their funding, and to discredit their wicked ideology.

I am pleased to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has retaken almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria.  There is still more fighting and work to be done and to consolidate our gains.  We are committed to ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists who want to commit mass murder to our civilian populations.  I want to thank those nations represented here today that have joined in these crucial efforts.  You are not just securing your own citizens, but saving lives and restoring hope for millions and millions of people.

When it comes to terrorism, we will do whatever is necessary to protect our nation.  We will defend our citizens and our borders.  We are also securing our immigration system, as a matter of both national and economic security.

America is a cutting-edge economy, but our immigration system is stuck in the past.  We must replace our current system of extended-family chain migration with a merit-based system of admissions that selects new arrivals based on their ability to contribute to our economy, to support themselves financially, and to strengthen our country.

In rebuilding America, we are also fully committed to developing our workforce.  We are lifting people from dependence to independence, because we know the single best anti-poverty program is a very simple and very beautiful paycheck.

To be successful, it is not enough to invest in our economy.  We must invest in our people.  When people are forgotten, the world becomes fractured.  Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all.

The nation’s greatness is more than the sum of its production.  A nation’s greatness is the sum of its citizens:  the values, pride, love, devotion, and character of the people who call that nation home.

From my first international G7 Summit, to the G20, to the U.N. General Assembly, to APEC, to the World Trade Organization, and today at the World Economic Forum, my administration has not only been present, but has driven our message that we are all stronger when free, sovereign nations cooperate toward shared goals and they cooperate toward shared dreams.

Represented in this room are some of the remarkable citizens from all over the world.  You are national leaders, business titans, industry giants, and many of the brightest minds in many fields.

Each of you has the power to change hearts, transform lives, and shape your countries’ destinies.  With this power comes an obligation, however — a duty of loyalty to the people, workers, and customers who have made you who you are.

So together, let us resolve to use our power, our resources, and our voices, not just for ourselves, but for our people — to lift their burdens, to raise their hopes, and to empower their dreams; to protect their families, their communities, their histories, and their futures.

That’s what we’re doing in America, and the results are totally unmistakable.  It’s why new businesses and investment are flooding in.  It’s why our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in so many decades.  It’s why America’s future has never been brighter.

Today, I am inviting all of you to become part of this incredible future we are building together.

Thank you to our hosts, thank you to the leaders and innovators in the audience.  But most importantly, thank you to all of the hardworking men and women who do their duty each and every day, making this a better world for everyone.  Together, let us send our love and our gratitude to make them, because they really make our countries run.  They make our countries great.

Thank you, and God bless you all.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.

MR. SCHWAB:  Thank you, Mr. President, for this inspiring speech.  As it is tradition at the forum, I will ask you one or two questions.

And my first question is, why is the tax reform — why has it been of such a high priority for your administration?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, first of all, Klaus, I want to congratulate you.  This is an incredible group of people.  We had dinner last night with about 15 leaders of industry, none of whom I knew, but all of whom I’ve read about for years.  And it was truly an incredible group.  But I think I have 15 new friends.  So this has been really great what you’ve done and putting it together, the economic forum.

The tax reform was a dream of a lot of people over many years, but they weren’t able to get it done.  Many people tried, and Ronald Reagan was really the last to make a meaningful cut and reform.  And ours is cutting and reforming.  We emphasize cut, but the reform is probably almost as important.  We’ve wanted to do it.  It is very tough, politically, to do it.  Hard to believe that would be, but it is very, very tough.  That’s why it hasn’t been done in close to 40 years.

And once we got it going, it was going.  And the big — and I wouldn’t say a total surprise, but one of the big things that happened and took place is AT&T and some others came out very early and they said they were going to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to people that work for their companies.  And you have 300,000, 400,000, 500,000 people working for these companies, and all of a sudden it became like a big waterfall, a big, beautiful waterfall where so many companies are doing it.  And even today they just announced many more.  But every day they announce more and more.  And now it’s a fight for who’s going to give the most.  It started at 1,000, and now we have them up to 3,000.

This is something that we didn’t anticipate.  Oftentimes in business, things happen that you don’t anticipate.  Usually that’s a bad thing, but this was a good thing.  This came out of nowhere.  Nobody ever thought of this as a possibility even.  It wasn’t in the equation.  We waited — we said, wait until February 1st when the checks start coming in.  And people, Klaus, have a lot more money in their paycheck — because it’s not just a little money, this is a lot of money for people making a living doing whatever they may be doing.

And we really though February 1st it was going to kick in and everybody was going to be — well, we haven’t even gotten there yet and it’s kicked in.  And it’s had an incredible impact on the stock market and the stock prices.  We’ve set 84 records since my election — record stock market prices, meaning we hit new highs 84 different times out of a one-year period.  And that’s a great thing.  And in all fairness, that was done before we passed the tax cuts and tax reform.

So what happened is really something special.  Then, as you know, and as I just said, Apple came in with $350 billion.  And I tell you, I spoke with Tim Cook; I said, Tim, I will never consider this whole great run that we’ve made complete until you start building plants in the U.S.  And I will tell you, this moved up very substantially.  But when I heard 350, I thought he was talking — I thought they were talking $350 million.  And, by the way, that’s a nice-sized plant.  Not the greatest, but not bad.  And they said, “No, sir.  It’s $350 billion.”  I said, that is something.

Well, we have tremendous amounts of money, including my newfound friends from last night — great companies.  They’re all investing.  When one of the gentlemen said he’s putting in $2 billion because of the tax cuts, I said to myself, “Wow, he’s actually the cheap one in the group” — because they’re putting in massive numbers of billions of dollars.

So I think you have a brand-new United States.  You have a United States where people from all over the world are looking to come in and invest, and there’s just nothing like what’s happening.

And I just want to finish by — I have a group of people that have been so — I have a whole lot of them, so I won’t introduce because then I’ll insult at least half of them.  But I’ve had a group of people that worked so hard on this and other things.

And we’re really doing — we had a great first year — so successful in so many different ways.  And there’s a tremendous spirit.  When you look at all of the different charts and polls, and you see, as an example, African American unemployment at the historic low — it’s never had a period of time like this.  Same with Hispanic.  Women at a 17-year low.  It’s very heartwarming to see.  But there’s a tremendous spirit in the United States.  I would say it’s a spirit like I have never witnessed before.  I’ve been here for awhile.  I have never witnessed the spirit that our country has right now.

So I just want to thank you all, and all those that are pouring billions of dollars into our country, or ten dollars into our country, we thank you very much.  Thank you.

MR. SCHWAB:  Mr. President, I will ask you, maybe, a personal question.  But before doing so, I’d just like to —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Sounds very interesting.

MR. SCHWAB: — acknowledge that —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I didn’t know about this one.

MR. SCHWAB:  I would like to acknowledge the strong presence of your Cabinet members

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yes.

MR. SCHWAB: — who tremendously contributed to the discussions the last (inaudible).

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Good, I would like to do that.  That’s very nice.

MR. SCHWAB:  Yeah.  Now —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Steven, Wilbur, Gary, Robert, even my General and my various other generals, you know.  We’re making our military protection a little bit better for us too.  So thank you very much.  Does everybody understand that?  I think so.  Thank you all for being here.

MR. SCHWAB:  Now my, maybe personal, question would be: What experience from your past have been most useful in preparing you for the Presidency?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, being a businessman has been a great experience for me.  I’ve loved it.  I’ve always loved business.  I’ve always been good at building things, and I’ve always been successful at making money.  I’d buy things that would fail –that would be failures — and I’d turn them around and try and get them for the right price, and then I’d turn them around and make them successful.  And I’ve been good at it.  And that takes a certain ability.

And, you know, historically, I guess, there’s never really been a businessman or businessperson elected President.  It’s always been a general or a politician.  Throughout history, it’s always been a general — you had to be a general — but mostly it was politicians.  You never have a businessman.

And then, in all fairness, I was saying to Klaus last night: Had the opposing party to me won — some of whom you backed, some of the people in the room — instead of being up almost 50 percent — the stock market is up since my election almost 50 percent — rather than that, I believe the stock market from that level, the initial level, would have been down close to 50 percent.  That’s where we were heading.  I really believe that — because they were going to put on massive new regulations.  You couldn’t breathe.  It was choking our country to death.  And I was able to see that, Klaus, as a businessperson.

The other thing is, I’ve always seemed to get, for whatever reason, a disproportionate amount of press or media.  (Laughter.)  Throughout my whole life — somebody will explain someday why — but I’ve always gotten a lot.  (Laughter.)  And as businessman I was always treated really well by the press.  The numbers speak and things happen, but I’ve always really had a very good press.  And it wasn’t until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean, how vicious, and how fake the press can be.  As the cameras start going off in the background.  (Laughter.)

But overall — I mean, the bottom line — somebody said, well, they couldn’t have been that bad because here we are — we’re President.  And I think we’re doing a really great job with my team.  I have a team of just tremendous people, and I think we’re doing a very special job.  And I really believe it was time, and it was time to do that job, because I don’t think the United States would have done very well if it went through four or eight more years of regulation and, really, a very anti-business group of people.

We have a very pro-business group.  We have regulations cut to a level — in the history of our country, Klaus — this was reported recently.  In one year we’ve cut more regulations in my administration than any other administration in four, eight, or sixteen years, in the one case.  We’ve cut more regulations in one year, and we have a ways to go.  I mean, we’re probably 50 percent done.

And we’re going to have regulation.  There’s nothing wrong with rules and regulations; you need them.  But we’ve cut more than any administration ever in the history of our country, and we still have a ways to go.  So I think between that and the tremendous tax cuts, we’ve really done something.

And one other thing I said — and I saw it last night with some of the leaders and the businesspeople — I think I’ve been a cheerleader for our country, and everybody representing a company or a country has to be a cheerleader, or no matter what you do, it’s just not going to work.  And the reason I’m a cheerleader is because it’s easy — because I love our country and I think we’re just doing really well.

And we look forward to seeing you in America — special place — and where you are is a special place also.

Thank you all very much.  I appreciate it.  (Applause.)

MR. SCHWAB:  Thank you.  Thank you very much, Mr. President, for being with us.

The World Economic Forum community, who is assembled here, will be certainly — and I quote you from the last piece of your remarks — will be certainly among “the hardworking men and women who do their duty each and every day making this world a better place for everyone.”

Thank you very much for being with us.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  Thank you very much everybody.  Thank you.  (Applause.

Trump Bans ‘Transgender,’ ‘Fetus,’ ‘Science-Based’, ‘Diversity’ From CDC Documents

 

“We cannot replace truth with bias — the nation cannot survive a steady diet of bullshit.”

“Banning valid terminology from government reports is both ignorant and dangerous,” Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York University’s School of Medicine, told HuffPost in an email. “Not since Lysenko and Stalin has government made hate, malice and duplicity official policy. The Trump administration with its seven-dirty-words policy has now elevated lying to a national standard.

 

Judgment of the Nations

 

Reverend Dustin Bartlett

Judgment of the Nations

by Rev. Dustin Bartlett

Our nation’s budget is a moral document.  It reflects the values of the country.  It demonstrates where our priorities lie.  It tells the story of who we are, and who we want to be.

The budget proposed by the White House this week tells the story of a country that cares very little about science, the environment, diplomacy, the poor, and the elderly.  Between the cuts in our diplomatic corps and foreign aid and the increase in military spending, it’s a budget that seems eager for war.

So we must ask ourselves, “Is this who we want to be?  Is this what our country should look like?”

Do we really want to completely eliminate all government grants for the arts and the humanities?  Have we decided that we no longer value art and literature, music and sculpture?  Shall we cut funding for the educational programming on PBS, and have our kids watch cartoons filled with violence and toilet humor instead?

Speaking of our kids, do we really want to cut all funding for researching and fighting global climate change?  What kind of world are we leaving our children and grandchildren if we abandon all efforts to slow climate change, and eliminate funding to keep our air and water clean?

Have we become so calloused to the plight of the poor and the elderly that we will eliminate funding for Meals on Wheels?  Meals on Wheels!  We’re talking about feeding poor, home-bound senior citizens!  If the budget is a moral document that shows what we, as a nation, care about, then what does this say about us?

And for what purpose are we cutting funding for the arts, and for alleviating poverty, and for health research, for low-income energy assistance and low-income housing?  These cuts are being made to allow us to increase military spending by $54 billion dollars a year.

Never mind that the United States already spends significantly more on its military than any other nation.  In fact, our military budget is bigger than the budgets of the next eight highest-spending countries combined – and of those eight countries, we have formal alliances with six.  We have 19 aircraft carriers; the other countries of the world have a combined total of 12.  Do we really need to be more poised for war than we already are?

As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”  This budget is definitely a step away from helping the poor and vulnerable in favor of violence and war.  It’s up to us to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be.

In a democracy, we get to decide.  Our elected leaders are accountable to us.  This is certainly not the kind of country I want the United States of America to be, but maybe most of my fellow citizens want exactly that.

Only, if you do, don’t also tell me you want this to be a country that is built upon Christian values.

In the 25th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus describes a scene in which the nations are judged by God, and this is how they will be judged:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.  Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?  And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?  And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’  And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

“Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’  Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The White House wants to cut Meals on Wheels.  That’s a reflection of where their morals are.  Jesus said when we feed the hungry, we’re feeding him.  That’s where Christ’s morals are.

Where do our morals lie?  What kind of nation do we want to be?

Why Trump’s ‘Skinny’ Budget is Already Dead

Roy T. Meyers,
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

March 9, 2017

The Trump administration is about to formally lay out its spending priorities for the country in its first budget proposal. The Conversation

Some of the outlines are already out there, signaling a massive increase in military appropriations that will be offset by deep cuts to other discretionary spending, including foreign aid, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Coast Guard. President Donald Trump himself touched on some of these themes in his recent speech before Congress.

But some key Republicans wasted little time before deeming the president’s budget blueprint “dead on arrival,” with Senator Lindsey Graham calling it “politically unrealistic.”

A more apt description, however, might be “dead before arrival.”

Why would that be? Partly because it’s challenging to craft a budget during a transition year. More importantly, however, it’s because Trump’s proposal combines a slap-dash process with heavy-handed non-defense-spending cuts.

How the budget process works

While Congress is ultimately responsible for writing the federal budget – which last year contained about US$4 trillion in spending – the legally mandated proposal provided by the executive branch is essential to getting it done. That’s because Congress does not have the capacity to replace the extensive work done by all the departments when they prepare the president’s annual budget request.

Current law requires that the president send his budget to Congress by the first Monday in February. During transition years, however, that usually gets pushed to April or May because it takes a while for incoming presidents to staff key positions. This delay happens despite the fact that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) includes hundreds of professional examiners who exemplify the practice of “neutral competence” – providing expert analysis to both Democratic and Republican presidents.

In fact, prior to 1990, lame duck presidents submitted their own budget blueprints because Congress required one before Inauguration Day, and their successors either edited it a bit or, in a couple cases, left it as is.

But after the deadline was extended in 1990, the past three presidents have had to hastily assemble their own vision for the country, largely from scratch, in what eventually became known as a “skinny budget,” meaning it skimped on many of the usual details.

Now it’s Trump’s turn to propose a budget for fiscal year 2018, which starts Oct. 1. Trump’s skinny budget, expected to come out around March 16, will be a lot skinnier than usual.

Sneak previews

The announced focus of Trump’s budget will be on discretionary spending, which for fiscal year 2017 is projected to total $1.2 trillion, or about 30 percent of the overall budget (the rest includes Social Security, Medicare and other mandatory spending such as interest payments on the national debt). About half of discretionary spending funds the military, while the rest pays for a wide range of programs from education to environmental protection.

Most notably, Trump reportedly wants to increase defense spending by $54 billion and fully offset that amount by cutting other discretionary programs. According to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney:

“It reduces money that we give to other nations, it reduces duplicative programs, and it eliminates programs that simply don’t work.”

While Mulvaney declined to describe where exactly those cuts would fall, elements of the plan have leaked. Examples include a 69 percent cut to the EPA’s spending on climate change and 78 percent for its environmental justice programs. These cuts are designed, it seems clear, to reduce the ability of the government to regulate business groups that have supported the Republican Party.

But some cuts are already meeting strong resistance. Even Trump’s hand-picked Environmental Protection Agency director, Scott Pruitt – who as Oklahoma attorney general repeatedly sued the agency he now runs – has voiced opposition to the reduced EPA spending.

A closer look at the process of how these plans were reached reveals a significant flaw and the reason this budget will not be acceptable to Congress.

A top-down process

The process of creating a spending blueprint typically begins during “budget season” – October through December – when government agencies submit their wish lists to the OMB, which then compares requests with the president’s desired policies and edits them as necessary.

That didn’t happen during this transition, because the Obama administration – as sometimes happens when there’s a change in government – asked departments only to submit estimates of continuing current policies rather than the usual full requests that would have been reviewed by the outgoing government. That gave Trump’s team a slow start, which was made worse by the transition’s delays in identifying key political appointees.

Yet the overall direction of the budget was still set at the top by the president. OMB Director Mulvaney summed up how this budget was prepared this way:

“We are taking his words and turning them into policies and dollars.”

In reality, however, as is clear from a reading of what is proposed, Mulvaney has relied on conservative advocacy organizations such as the Heritage Foundation to identify many of those specific “policies and dollars.”

That groups affiliated with the incoming president have such influence is nothing new. What is different this time is that their proposals did not receive much of a vetting.

In the typical process, the budget requests that have been trimmed by OMB analysts are sent back as “passbacks” to originating departments for potential appeal, giving them a chance to explain why certain spending or programs are necessary. But when Mulvaney revealed the outline of his budget, he made the remarkable admission that the OMB had not yet delivered its passbacks to the departments – less than three weeks before the budget would be released.

The bottom line is that the White House publicized a target of $54 billion (11 percent of 2017 discretionary spending) in cuts without receiving any feedback from agencies about the feasibility of making them. Further, because the administration and Congress have also already called for increases in spending in certain areas – such as veterans health programs, doubling the number of border patrol agents and infrastructure investments – that means the $54 billion hammer will fall even harder on everything else.

Hence the negative reaction from Congress, which understands how politically popular many of the programs targeted for cuts are. Some previous proposals to impose similar cuts were defeated, such as in the successful campaign to “save Big Bird.”

After all, non-defense appropriations have already been cut greatly since 2010, when they tallied an inflation-adjusted $612 billion. Spending caps adopted in 2010 placed a ceiling of $516 billion for such spending. Trump’s budget would drop it further to $462 billion.

So even though Trump’s skinny budget will propose big cuts – and some will be adopted – Congress will not rubber-stamp many of them.

And oddly, there was no reason to rush in the first place.

The government is currently running on a continuing resolution for fiscal year 2017 after Republicans decided not to pass regular appropriations bills – which were supposed to be enacted by last October – until after President Trump took office. That continuing resolution expires on April 28.

So Congress will need to pass 2017 appropriation bills before it can even look at the 2018 budget. Clearly the administration could have taken its time before releasing its proposal.

Budgets are complicated too

In other words, the lack of substance combined with politically toxic spending cuts mean Trump’s first budget blueprint stands little chance of full adoption.

Over the rest of the year, if Republicans are to enact a full budget for 2018, there will have to be a meeting of the minds between Congressional Republicans and President Trump – which currently seem very far apart on key issues.

Most Republicans tend to advocate for a balanced budget and debt reduction. In contrast, the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated before the election that adopting all of Trump’s campaign promises – including tax cuts, the “wall” and infrastructure spending – would increase the public debt to 105 percent of GDP from 86 percent today. And that’s in part because he’s also promised not to touch entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.

There are also large differences between Trump and Republican lawmakers on how to change the tax code, how to replace the Affordable Care Act and whether to subsidize corporations for creating jobs.

To date, Trump has not shown much facility to resolve these budgetary conflicts – or in the realization that some subjects, like this and health care, are in fact very complicated. And so in the absence of presidential leadership that wrestles with the complexities of government, don’t expect his skinny budget to provide a consistent vision for the nation – or to have a future.

Roy T. Meyers, Professor of Political Science and Affiliate Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Dan Rather Calls For Independent Investigation of Sessions Russian Involvement

By Dan Rather
March 2, 2017

Every once in a while in Washington, the fuse is lit for what seems to be a big scandal. Much more rarely does that fuse lead to an explosion of the magnitude we are seeing with Russia and the new Administration, and frankly the Republicans in Congress. How can anybody say, with all this billowing smoke and sights of actual flames, that there is no need to at least independently investigate whether a fire is burning down the very pillars of our democracy?

The pressure is obviously starting to mount as leading Republicans are now calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. This comes in the wake of serious and credible evidence reported by a vigilant press that the Attorney General, mind you the top law enforcement man in the United States, perjured himself in testimony to the Senate about meeting the Russian ambassador during the election. Sessions is but the latest person close to President Trump who seems to be ensnared in a story that is more worthy of Hollywood melodrama than the reality of the governance of our country. Democrats are calling for Sessions to resign, and this story could move very quickly.

We are well past the time for any political niceties or benefits of the doubt. We need an independent and thorough investigation of Russia’s meddling in our democracy and its ties to the President and his allies. We don’t know what we don’t know. Perhaps there are perfectly innocuous reasons for why Mr Trump won’t release his tax returns, why he has continued to speak admirably about President Putin and why his aides and advisors seem to be so close to Russia. That’s why we need an investigation. If the air is to be cleared, it needs to be cleared. And if there is deep rot, it needs to be exposed. And quickly.

The press is doing an admirable job. But there is only so much it can do without such things as subpoena powers. Let’s just make this clear. This is about a foreign and hostile power trying to influence our election while being in contact with close aides to the presidential campaign that the Kremlin wanted to win. Furthermore, there are serious questions about Mr Trump’s longstanding ties to Russian money and influence peddlers. We don’t know where this might go, but it isn’t going away.

Rounds Praises Trump’s Action to Undo Waters of The U.S Rule

February 28, 2017

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today praised President Trump’s executive order that will begin to undo the Obama administration’s overreaching Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The executive order will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps to review the WOTUS rule to make certain it promotes economic growth and minimizes regulatory uncertainty. It also requires agencies to rescind or revise aspects of WOTUS that are incompatible with this new policy guidance.

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“If implemented, the WOTUS rule would be one of the largest federal land grabs in the history of our country,” said Rounds. “It would give the Army Corps and the EPA control of nearly all water, including man-made water management systems, farm ponds, drainage ditches and any other water that the EPA decides has a ‘significant nexus’ to downstream water. Under WOTUS, farmers, ranchers and landowners would be forced to spend hours filling out burdensome paperwork to get permits from the EPA and Army Corps just to conduct normal agricultural activities or spray for weeds along our county roads. I applaud President Trump for taking steps to undo this unnecessary, misguided overreach.”

Networks Will Cover Trump’s Address to Joint Session of Congress Tuesday Evening

 

By A.J. Katz, February 27, 2017

The broadcast, cable and streaming news networks are set to provide in-depth, live coverage of Pres. Donald Trump‘s first address to the joint session of the Congress on Tuesday night. Here are their coverage plans.

BROADCAST

ABC:

ABC News will broadcast special coverage of President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress tomorrow night from 9 – 11 p.m. ET on ABC. Chief anchor George Stephanopoulos will lead coverage from Washington, with World News Tonight anchor David Muir, chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, chief Washington and chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl from the White House, Nightline anchor Byron Pitts, senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega, World News Tonight Weekend anchor and chief national correspondent Tom Llamas and special correspondent and senior strategic advisor Matthew Dowd.

Congressional correspondent Mary Bruce will report from the White House, correspondent Matt Gutman reports from the heartland, and chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran reports from London. Contributors Kristen Soltis Anderson, Alex Castellanos and Stephanie Rawlings–Blake will round out the team of analysts who will weigh in throughout the evening.

ABC News Digital will broadcast the address on ABC News’ live stream, Facebook Live and Twitter. ABC News will have live stream coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET anchored by Amna Nawaz, Will Reeve, LZ Granderson and Amy Holmes including from watch parties around the country.

Also on Tuesday, Muir will anchor World News Tonight and Pitts will anchor Nightline from Washington. Stephanopoulos will anchor GMA on Wednesday morning from Washington.

CBS:

CBS News will broadcast live, prime time coverage of Pres. Trump’s 2017 address to the Joint Session of Congress and the Democratic Response from 9 – 10:30 p.m on CBS TV. CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley; Face the Nation anchor and CBS News political director John Dickerson; CBS This Morning co-hosts Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell; and CBS This Morning: Saturday co-host and CBS News senior national correspondent Anthony Mason will anchor the coverage. CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett; CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes; and CBS News foreign affairs and White House correspondent Margaret Brennan will provide on-the-ground reporting with CBS News Contributor Frank Luntz conducting a focus group during the coverage.

CBSN will deliver coverage throughout the day across all digital platforms. CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano will host a special two-hour edition of CBSN’s nightly politics show Red & Blue at 7 p.m. ET ahead of the address. Beginning at 9 p.m., CBSN will stream CBS TV’s coverage until 10:30 p.m. ET with the CBS News team continuing their coverage on CBSN following the president’s speech and Democratic response. In addition, CBSN will have extensive coverage throughout the day with CTM: Saturday co-host Alex Wagner reporting live from Capitol Hill and CBS News Correspondent Jeff Glor reporting from New York.

FOX:

Fox News Channel’s chief news anchor and managing editor Shepard Smith will anchor live coverage from Washington D.C. beginning at 9 p.m. ET on FOX. Contributions will be provided by FNC correspondent Rich Edson, in addition to others.

NBC:

Starting NBC News’s all-day special coverage, Matt Lauer will sit down exclusively with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and co-host Today on the Hill live from Capitol Hill on Tues morning. Today will also have a first-of-its kind live tour of the Capitol.

Lester Holt will anchor NBC News’ live prime time coverage from Washington beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on NBC. Holt will be joined on set by Chuck Todd and Tom Brokaw. NBC News analyst Nicolle Wallace will also contribute to the special coverage. Additionally, Holt will anchor NBC Nightly News from Washington on Tuesday night.

NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, NBC News White House correspondents Kristen Welker and Hallie Jackson, NBC News national correspondent Peter Alexander, as well as NBC News Capitol Hill correspondents Kasie Hunt and Kelly O’Donnell will all contribute reporting on both NBC and MSNBC.

PBS:

PBS will carry the broadcast live on its stations nation wide from 9 – 11 p.m. Coverage will be anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff, with NewsHour correspondents Lisa Desjardins reporting from the U.S. Capitol and John Yang reporting from the White House. Coverage will include the President’s address and the Democratic party response and live stream on Twitter globally at jointsession.twitter.com and @NewsHour, as well as at pbs.org/newshour. The special will then rebroadcast at 11 p.m. ET. NewsHour correspondent and PBS NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan will anchor early coverage exclusively on Twitter from 8 – 9 p.m. ET.

Joining Woodruff in studio in the 9 p.m. ET hour will be a panel of guests including New York Times columnist David Brooks, syndicated columnist Mark Shields; the Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter; chair of the American Conservative Union Matt Schlapp; and senior adviser and national spokesperson for MoveOn Karine Jean-Pierre.

CABLE

BBC News:

For BBC World News, Katty Kay will anchor special coverage starting at 9 p.m. ET through the speech and Democratic response. Coverage will feature analysis from the panel on set and position on Capitol Hill to get congressional reaction.

Bloomberg:

Bloomberg TV will be covering Pres. Trump’s address to the joint session tomorrow evening. David Gura will be hosting Bloomberg’s live coverage from 9 – 11 p.m. ET from Bloomberg’s World Headquarters in New York. Kevin Cirilli, Chief Washington Correspondent, will be contributing reporting from Capitol Hill and Mohamed A. El-Erian, Bloomberg View Columnist, will be joining David on set for the entire special.

CNN:

CNN’s special coverage of President Trump’s Address to Congress will begin tomorrow night 8 p.m. ET with AC360.

The address will air live on CNN at 9 p.m. ET, followed by the Democratic response.

CNN’s coverage of President Trump’s Address to Congress and the Democratic response will be streamed live in its entirety to CNN.com’s homepage and across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android, starting at 8 p.m. on Tuesday running through midnight.

Anchors Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper, and Dana Bash will lead the special coverage live from Washington, DC.

Senior White House correspondents Jim Acosta will join from the White House and Jeff Zeleny will join from Capitol Hill.

Chief political correspondent Dana Bash will be live from Statuary Hall and Senior Congressional Reporter Manu Raju will be located inside the House Chamber.

Analysis will be provided by John King, Gloria Borger, David Axelrod and Nia-Malika Henderson along with CNN contributors.

CNN will incorporate a Digital Dial Test into its coverage, with CNN Correspondent Tom Foreman offering viewers real-time feedback on the President’s speech.

Political director David Chalian will lead CNN Instant Poll results and chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto will lead CNN’s Reality Check.

At 11 p.m. ET a special edition of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon will air.

C-SPAN:

C-SPAN will go live with pre-coverage of Pres. Trump’s address to the joint session at 8 p.m. ET, and will go live with the actual address at 9 p.m. ET on C-SPAN, C-SPAN.org and on the Free C-SPAN Radio App. The network’s post-address coverage will include interviews from Statuary Hall on C-SPAN2.

Fox News:

Fox News will present special coverage leading up to and following Pres. Trump’s address to the joint session and the Democratic Response, telecast live from Washington D.C. Special Report’s Bret Baier and The First 100 Days’ Martha MacCallum will anchor prime time programming beginning at 9 p.m. ET, with contributions from FNC’s Tucker Carlson, co-hosts of The Five Dana Perino and Juan Williams, senior political analyst Brit Hume and Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace. Additionally, Hannity will present a live hour of analysis at 11 p.m. ET.

Fox Business:

Fox Business Network will provide live coverage of Pres. Trump’s address, and will also telecast live from Washington D.C. leading up to and following the events, starting tonight at 7 p.m. ET with Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Neil Cavuto will then anchor a special edition of Cavuto: Coast to Coast, Presidential Address to the Congress tomorrow night from 8 – 11 p.m. ET, live from Washington. Providing on the ground reporting for FBN tomorrow night will be Peter Barnes and Blake Burman from the White House, and Connell McShane from the Capitol.

Fusion:

Fusion is going in an interesting direction. It’s turning to its corporate sibling The Onion to “help viewers maintain their collective sanity” during President Trump’s first address to Congress. The Onion will deliver real-time commentary throughout the address and the Democratic response through a series of on-screen graphics.

Fusion’s Nando Vila along with Miriti Murungi and Natasha Del Toro will provide insights and commentary before and after the speeches. The Onion Presents Trump’s Address to Congress will air tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET on Fusion.

MSNBC:

On MSNBC, coverage kicks off with Morning Joe live from Washington from 6 – 9 a.m. ET. Rachel Maddow, Brian Williams, and Chris Matthews lead MSNBC’s prime coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET, anchored from New York. Nicolle Wallace, Steve Schmidt, and Eugene Robinson will join the panel, and the team will continue live programming immediately after the address. NBC and MSNBC will also broadcast the Democratic Party response immediately following Trump’s address.

Yahoo News:

Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric will be live on Yahoo with special coverage of Pres. Trump’s address tomorrow beginning at 8:50pm ET. Couric will be joined by Yahoo National Political Columnist Matt Bai, Republican Strategist Leslie Sanchez, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT.) And online Yahoo National Correspondent Holly Bailey and Yahoo Senior Politics Editor Garance Franke-Ruta are hosting Yahoo News’ live blog.

Supreme Leader Pleased by Precision Engineering on Atomic Bomb

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The Supreme Leader Kim and Supreme General Deadsoon To, express gleeful joy over the precision atomic bomb measuring device at the Clinic for the Destruction of Yankee Running Dog Lackeys in Nosoul, North Korea today. Scientist fearing the state crime of not smiling when the Supreme Leader is smiling try to hide from the camera.

The Best Legal Arguments Against Trump’s Immigration Ban

Steven Mulroy,
University of Memphis

January 31, 2017

Is President Trump’s recent executive order on immigrants and refugees legal?

It’s a surprisingly tricky question.

The order arguably violates both a federal statute and one or more sections of the Constitution – depending on whether the immigrant is already in the U.S. In the end, opponents’ best hope for undoing the order might rest on the separation of church and state.

Trump’s order bars the entry of any refugee for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also bans citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. This order potentially affects more than 20,000 refugees, along with thousands of students nationwide. Depending on how it is enforced, it could also impact as many as hundreds of thousands of green card holders, or immigrants with permanent residency.

Many opponents have challenged the order in court.

A U.S. District Court judge in Brooklyn, New York, issued a ruling that halted the enforcement of Trump’s executive order the day after he signed it. Judges in at least four other states followed suit.

Trump’s supporters defend the order’s legality based on a federal immigration statute passed in 1952 that allows the president to suspend the U.S. entry of “any class of aliens.” But, as a former U.S. Justice Department lawyer and a law professor, I believe there are at least four possible arguments challenging the legality of the order.

Anti-discrimination statute

There is, critically, another federal statute that outlaws discriminating against a person regarding issuing visas based on the person’s “nationality, place of birth, or place of residence,” which Trump’s order clearly does. This second statute was passed in 1965 and is more specific than the 1952 statute. What’s more, courts have enforced this anti-discrimination ban strictly. This is the strongest legal argument against President Trump’s order.

But Congress can amend or repeal the 1965 statute, as it can any law. A Republican-controlled Congress might do that, although concerns raised by some GOP lawmakers may make that unlikely.

Due process and equal protection

The recent court orders halting enforcement of the Trump order relied on a legal argument that it violated due process or equal protection under the Constitution. Due process means that people get procedural safeguards–like advance notice, a hearing before a neutral decision-maker and a chance to tell their side of the story–before the government takes away their liberty. Equal protection means the government must treat people equally, and can’t discriminate on the basis of race, alien status, nationality, and other irrelevant factors.

As the Supreme Court has said, even immigrants who are not citizens or green card holders have due process and equal protection rights, if – and only if – they are physically here in the U.S. That’s why the recent court orders on due process and equal protection help only individuals who were in the States at the time the court ruled.

Given the rushed, chaotic manner in which the recent order was drafted and enforced, with no set chance for affected individuals to plead their case, maybe there are some valid due process arguments against the ban. But presumably, those can be fixed by slowing down and letting people have their say. Once that’s done, the remaining issue is whether the executive order violates equal protection by intentionally discriminating against Muslims.

Trump denies the order is a “Muslim ban,” even though he called for exactly that during the campaign, and each of the seven countries subject to the ban is majority Muslim. In explaining why those seven countries were chosen, the order itself cites the Obama-era law stating that persons who in recent years have visited one of these seven terrorism-prone nations would not be eligible under a “visa waiver” program. Similarly, says Trump, the defining characteristic here is terrorist danger, not religion. That’s why only seven of more than 40 majority Muslim countries are affected. (Note that the Obama-era rule isn’t based on nationality, but rather on whether someone of any nationality visited the danger zone since 2011 – a criterion not outlawed by the 1965 statute.)

One problem with Trump’s argument is that the order also seems to prioritize admitting Christian refugees. It does this by saying that once the 120-day ban on all refugees expires, priority goes to those of “a minority religion in the individual’s country.”

Supporters can rightly argue this “minority religion” language is neutral. It never mentions Muslims or Christians. But, as that neutral language interacts with the country-specific ban targeting seven Muslim countries, the two can’t help but disproportionately help Christians. Indeed, just days before signing the order, Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network he intended to prioritize Christian refugees.

Separation of church and state

That brings us to the final legal argument against the president’s order. By picking favorites among religions, it violates the separation of church and state under the Constitution’s Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Though Establishment Clause law is often murky, one clear point is that the government can’t favor one religious denomination over another.

This may be the most important of the constitutional theories involved in this case because it may have the broadest scope.

The due process and equal protection arguments only help persons who are already in the United States. Theoretically, a court ruling on those arguments might invalidate the order only as it applies to such persons. But if the order violates the Establishment Clause by making a statement favoring Christianity, a court could strike it down entirely.

The Conversation

Steven Mulroy, Law Professor in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Election Law, University of Memphis

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.