What should be priorities of The Donald and the GOP Congress? We see three categories: immigration, presidential, and legislative. The Donald was elected to do something about immigration. It is his one mandate. It will be a challenge but it has to be Job One. There will be some give and take to make progress on enforcement. More will happen on immigration but enforcement must be clarified first. We don’t need a comprehensive solution on immigration.
Next there are things that the president can do without legislation. These include where he goes, what he says, and the things he can sign. This set can be fairly large. There have been numerous suggestions including approving Keystone, visiting NYSE, and visiting fracking sites. We are sure somebody else suggested visiting charter schools. The IRS Scandal, currently day 1285, and the VA Scandal should be addressed. There are great opportunities for Trump to fire people. Another set of presidential actions will be command-z. There are lots of Obama actions, including those to come, that will need to be undone. There is also foreign policy. We will leave that for later.
The first legislative priority (outside of any immigration legislation) is replacing Obamacare. Just as the Democrats owned the failure of Obamacare, the GOP will own the reformed system. The GOP will be more inclusive in creating reforms but they will still own it. One measure of press bias is that the GOP, acting with some Democrat support, will own the reform more than Democrats have owned the failure of the current system that they created without any GOP input or support.
The failure of the last eight years means that there is much, much more to do. The problem is that reforming immigration and health care is going to take an enormous amount of work and energy. How do we choose between entitlements versus growth and taxes. The Donald doesn’t seem to be interested in entitlements but budget busting changes in the tax code make the entitlement problem more severe.
Our recommendation is to be conservative about all of this. Yes, entitlements are a pressing problem but it will be a good legislative year if we can make progress on immigration and healthcare reform. Add to that the numerous presidential actions and it could be an extraordinary year despite the big list remaining. Get the big priorities first. The priorities come from the election rather than our personal preferences. If other things can be done great but first things first.