Donald Trump can be a great president.
But for that to happen, two things must occur: He must follow through on key campaign commitments, and the Republican Congress must act on them.
Here are nine commitments Trump made that the incoming Congress should make happen:
1. Completely repeal Obamacare.
Trump’s position paper on health care said: “Our elected representatives in the House and Senate must: Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.”
It further stated that reforms put in place after the repeal should “follow free market principles that will restore economic freedom and certainty to everyone in this country.”
Congress must immediately repeal Obamacare — and enact only reforms that “follow free market principles.”
2. Confirm pro-life constitutionalists to the Supreme Court.
“The freedoms we cherish and the constitutional values and principles our country was founded on are in jeopardy,” Trump stated in September. “The responsibility is greater than ever to protect and uphold these freedoms and I will appoint justices, who, like Justice Scalia, will protect our liberty with the highest regard for the Constitution.”
In a letter to pro-life leaders, Trump added: “I am committed to … (n)ominating pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The Senate should confirm only nominees who fit the model Trump advocated.
3. Build the wall and enforce the immigration laws.
In his immigration plan, Trump promised to: “Begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border, on Day One.”
“All immigration laws will be enforced — we will triple the number of ICE agents,” said the plan. “Anyone who enters the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation.”
Trump’s plan also would “turn off the jobs and benefits magnet” for illegal immigrants. “Many immigrants come to the U.S. illegally in search of jobs,” it said, “even though federal law prohibits the employment of illegal immigrants.”
Congress should enact all legislation needed to build Trump’s wall and fully enforce the immigration laws.
4) Pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
“I am committed to … (s)igning into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide,” Trump said in his letter to pro-life leaders.
Congress should place that bill on Trump’s desk by Jan. 27, the day of the 2017 March for Life.
5) Defund Planned Parenthood.
“I am committed to … (d)efunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions,” Trump said in his letter. Congress should defund Planned Parenthood in the first spending bill it sends Trump.
6) Cut income tax rates and end the “death tax.”
“The Trump Plan will collapse the current seven tax brackets to three brackets,” says Trump’s tax plan. It would cut the top rate from 39.6 percent to 33 percent.
Additionally, Trump’s plan would “repeal the death tax,” which can be a confiscatory tax on family owned businesses. It also drops the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent.
A great Congress would go further than Trump’s plan. It would enact the “Fair Tax Act” that would eliminate the income tax, replace it with a sales tax and set the stage for repeal of the 16th Amendment, which made direct federal taxation of individual incomes plausible.
But enacting Trump’s plan to cut tax rates and abolish the death tax is a good start to reining in federal tax collections.
7) Make better trade deals.
In 2015, the U.S. had a merchandise trade deficit of $745.66 billion, according to the Census Bureau. Since 1979, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation has lost more than 7 million manufacturing jobs.
Trump’s trade plan calls for negotiating “fair trade deals that create American jobs, increase American wages, and reduce America’s trade deficit.” That includes withdrawing from the not-yet-approved Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiating NAFTA.
The Senate should ratify better trade deals when they are negotiated.
8) End our nation-building foreign policy.
Trump’s foreign policy plan says he will end “the current strategy of nation-building and regime change.” Congress should support this, including by reasserting its constitutional authority over the use of military force. That means the president may not use force — except to repel a sudden attack on the United States — unless Congress authorizes it.
9) Enact a balanced budget.
Sean Hannity asked Trump on Fox News on June 17, 2015: “Would you insist on a balanced budget as president?” Trump responded: “I would insist on it relatively soon.”
When President Barack Obama took office, the federal debt was about 10.6 trillion. Now it is about $19.9 trillion.
Obama and the last Republican Congress kept America on the road to bankruptcy. President Trump and the new Republican Congress must lead us back the other way — and they cannot do it too soon.