With the Obama administration coming to an end, January 2017 marks the beginning of a dramatic wholesale conservative shift in federal public policy making. Starting with the swearing-in of the 115th Congress on January 3rd, and followed by President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, the legislative and executive branches promise a robust schedule of activity heading into the Trump administration’s first 100 days.
Republicans are optimistic about their prospects for a productive legislative year; the GOP has not had undivided control of the federal government since they lost both chambers of Congress in the 2006 election cycle. The current balance of power in the Senate stands at 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. The House of Representatives has 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats.
Since the election, Trump and GOP congressional leaders appear to have mended the hostilities that broke out during the campaign. This new found alignment bodes well, as Trump is likely to lean heavily on the policy expertise of congressional Republicans to carry out his anticipated public policy agenda.
Leadership and members of congress have already set a bold and ambitious legislative plan for 2017. There will be a strong and targeted focus on rolling back dozens of regulations proposed and finalized toward the end of President Obama’s term, as well as delivering legislative priorities like repealing Obamacare and tax reform.
The policy areas discussed below are some of the top agenda items for the 115th Congress and the new Trump administration. Also included are issues and agenda items that have carried over from the previous Congress. Many of these issues, such as Trump’s nominations, Obamacare repeal and replace, comprehensive tax reform, and confirming a Supreme Court Justice are top GOP priorities and will be addressed within Trump’s first 100 days in office. Other issues, like the debt ceiling and government funding, have hard deadlines and will have to be addressed early in the year. The remaining items may be considered later in 2017 or throughout the 115th Congress and Trump’s first term.
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