Trump’s Congressional Address Light on Details

March 2, 2017

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, President Donald Trump addressed for the first time a joint session of Congress outlining his priorities and what he sees as major challenges ahead. This was his first substantive speech touching on many hot-button policy issues, including repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), immigration enforcement actions and international relations.

While there was no specific mention of small business in the speech, President Trump did mention a number of policies that would have significant impact on small business, namely health care. The President struck a positive note in calling for expanded Health Savings Accounts in any package replacing the Affordable Care Act, but he did not provide any specifics on what a replacement plan should look like, and made a vague reference to allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines. He underscored the need that health costs need to be reduced—NSBA’s top priority for the 115th Congress—however how to do that remains very much up in the air.

The President also spoke of the importance of tax reform and said he would be proposing a “massive” middle class tax cut. However, he did not take sides in the ongoing Congressional debate around a “border adjustment” component to the business tax regime. On the campaign trail President Trump did express the understanding that corporate tax reform must include some kind of workable solution for the 83 percent of pass-through small businesses who pay business taxes at the individual income level, another top priority for NSBA, but there was no mention in his address to that effect.

One key detail absent from the overall discussion on tax reform is whether it will be paid for through budget cuts or simply add to the deficit. Furthermore, there was no talk on dealing with the U.S. debt and deficit, which remains a top priority for NSBA.

And while the president did cite his efforts to ease the regulatory burden (another top NSBA priority) through regulatory task forces and his recent Executive Order, he didn’t specifically call for a more permanent fix such as a National Regulatory Budget which would require Congressional action.

Please click here to read more about NSBA’s Priority Issues.