Trump’s Softer Tone Masks Hard Road Ahead for Agenda in Congress

During the speech, Trump offered an ambiguous opening on immigration, saying “real and positive immigration reform is possible.” That followed a lunch conversation in which he told network television anchors “the time is right” for a compromise immigration bill. Still, he hewed to the tough rhetoric of his campaign, promising to kick off construction of his “great, great wall” on the southern border and recognizing families he had invited as his guests whose relatives had been killed by immigrants who entered the country illegally.

On health care, Trump told lawmakers they should repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But beyond vague guidelines — an endorsement of tax credits, protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and changes to Medicaid funding — he delivered little in the way of specifics. That’s little solace to Republicans on Capitol Hill struggling to craft a package that could garner support within their own party, and nervous about Trump’s commitment to an effort certain to prove politically challenging.

And yet that was perhaps the most detail offered by the president on any particular policy. Trump skipped over his desire to loosen financial industry regulation, offered little insight into whether he’d support Republican tax proposals to cut rates and impose a tax on imported goods, and didn’t detail the budget cuts his administration is proposing to pay for higher military spending.

He also didn’t talk about how his broad policy strokes would fit within the $4 trillion federal budget without ballooning the deficit.



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