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Donald Trump’s main State of the Union announcements – at a glance

Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address adopted a softer tone than many may have expected as he sought to gain Democratic support for his infrastructure and immigration policies. 

The US president’s first year in office has been characterised by divisive rhetoric and frequent clashes with Democratic members of Congress. 

But on Tuesday night Mr Trump said he was bringing in a “new American moment” as he called for “the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.”

Mr Trump’s Republican Party has a razor thin majority in the Senate and will need the support of the Democrats to pass through key policies in an election year.

President Trump is applauded as he delivers his speech

Credit:
Reuters

Those policies include securing funding for the Mexican border wall and approving an infrastructure spending plan costing more than $1 trillion. 

Here are the key announcements Mr Trump will be hoping to push through in the year ahead.

Guantanamo Bay to stay open

Mr Trump said he would be keeping Guantanamo Bay, the US prison in Cuba open and hinted he may send new prisoners there.

The President announced that just prior to his speech he had signed an executive order on “protecting America through the lawful detention of terrorists”.

The executive order revokes former President Barack Obama’s order to close the controversial detention facility and even opens the option of more suspected terrorists being held there. The reversal was a long-standing campaign pledge by Mr Trump.

Mr Trump also vowed to use his powers to continue to detain any terrorists captured during armed conflict that the US deems to be a risk to the country.

“More than one hundred detainees released from the Guantanamo Bay facilities have reengaged in combat, and some have killed Coalition and American citizens,” the order said.

$1.5 trillion for infrastructure

Mr Trump called for Congress to produce a bill that “generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need”.

He added: “Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.”


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Credit: Anadolu Agency

Crucially, however, he characterised the plan as generating $1.5 trillion rather than pledging to invest that sum – something Democrats would welcome. Mr Trump has hinted that some of the funding could come from private investment instead.

Citizenship for 1.8m illegal immigrants 

Democrats want protections for undocumented migrants who entered the US as children, known as “dreamers” while Mr Trump wants sweeping changes to the rules governing legal immigration. The row over their fate led to the government shutdown earlier this month. 

On Tuesday, Mr Trump promised to extend an “open hand” to Democrats, including offering citizenship for 1.8 million dreamers in return for increased spending on border security, including for his promised border wall.

Mr Trump also called for an end to the visa lottery and so-called “chain migration” – the practice of green card holders being allowed to bring their extended families to the US. Instead, Mr Trump called for a “merit-based system”. 

Modernising America’s nuclear arsenal

Mr Trump promised to enact a number of measures to improve national security, including calling for more military funding. 

The US president says that as part of the country’s defence, it must modernise and rebuild its nuclear arsenal to act as a deterrent, particularly to North Korea

“No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea,” he said. “North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.  We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening.”

“Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.  I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this very dangerous position.

“We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies.”

He went on to say there would be a renewed push to tackle the threat of the Islamic State group, which he vowed to extinguish “from the face of the Earth” last year. 

“One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria, and in other locations as well,” he said.

Reduce price of prescription drugs

Mr Trump said one of his “greatest priorities” was to reduce the price of prescription drugs in the country. “In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States,” he said.  “And it’s very, very unfair.”

Mr Trump promised that prices will “come down substantially”. However, did not go into detail as to how he would fix the “injustice”.  

Promoting free trade

Mr Trump pledge to plow ahead with ending the practice of what he called “unfair trade deals” with other countries.

The US president said he was “standing up for American interests” and protecting the US economy security by taking a tough stance against countries that “break the rules”.

Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/31/donald-trumps-main-state-union-announcements-glance/

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