President-elect Donald Trump is preparing a broad shift in U.S. relationships with foreign governments and an array of domestic policies, including health care, education, taxes and immigration. Some changes from his campaign promises are in the works, too. An overview of where things stand on key issues.
Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide, could be in jeopardy under Donald Trump’s presidency. If a reconfigured high court did overturn it, the likely outcome would be a patchwork map. Some states would protect abortion access, while others likely would enact tough bans, and many states would likely struggle over what new limits they might impose. Trump, who will have at least one Supreme Court vacancy to fill, has pledged to appoint justices who potentially would be open to weakening or reversing the landmark law. With one seat vacant, the high court now has a 5-3 majority supporting abortion rights.
Britain has long been anxious about its “special relationship” with the United States, but after some choice remarks about Donald Trump by members of the governing Conservative Party during the presidential campaign, the relationship needs a bit of nurturing. And who better to tend to that, in his own mind at least, than Nigel Farage, the populist leader of the U.K. Independence Party? Farage, known for his noisy role in promoting Britain’s exit from the European Union, was the first foreign politician to meet with President-elect Trump. As some in Farage’s party suggested him as the next ambassador to the United States, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said that there would be no “third person” in her relationship with Trump.
New York Times
Donald Trump had his first telephone conversation last week with President Xi Jinping of China, a country that Trump has described as a “currency manipulator.” During the campaign, Trump threatened to impose stiff tariffs on Chinese imports and has accused the country of inventing the idea of climate change to hurt American businesses. But Trump appeared to set aside those critiques during the phone conversation, vowing that the two nations would have “one of the strongest relationships,” according to a statement released by Trump’s transition office. Xi, in turn, told Trump that “facts have shown that cooperation is the only correct choice” for the U.S. and China, according to Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency. Analysts say the relationship between Trump and Xi could grow tense if Trump follows through on his campaign promises. Analysts in China are nervous about the prospect of a trade war.
New York Times
President-elect Donald Trump said during the campaign that he would cancel or rework the Paris Agreement intended to slow climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Formal withdrawal from the deal might take as long as three years. But effectively pulling out could come much quicker because the pact’s demands on the United States are nonbinding. In signing on to the treaty, the U.S. agreed to lower its carbon emissions between 26 and 28 percent of its 2005 levels. A Trump administration could simply refuse to live up to that vow. Because the greenhouse gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere obviously don’t respect international boundaries, a U.S. pullout would discourage the other 189 nations that agreed to cutbacks from keeping their own obligations. Groups fighting climate change have reported a surge in donations since Election Day.
Kansas City Star
On the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump threatened to roll back the sweeping détente with Cuba, lambasting the “concessions” made to its Communist government and raising the possibility that one of President Obama’s signature foreign policy initiatives could be stripped away. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken advantage of Obama’s decisions to loosen travel and other restrictions on Cuba. The critical question remains whether Trump will be a businessman at heart and allow Obama’s measures to continue — or if he will instead keep a vow he made and scale back everything from diplomatic relations to the unlimited rum and cigars Obama recently allowed from Cuba.
New York Times
Donald Trump has provided only scant details on his education agenda, but the ideas he has pitched make one thing certain: His vision for American schools is very different from that of his predecessor. Trump has said he would shrink the Department of Education — or demolish it altogether — and vowed to be “the nation’s biggest cheerleader for school choice.” On the campaign trail he also called for an end to gun-free school zones, and for changes in the student loan system. His transition website, which devotes just two paragraphs to the subject, identifies a few other priorities, including early childhood education and magnet and theme-based programs.
Top European Union diplomats are calling for more robust European defense and a greater European voice in world affairs as Donald Trump — whose isolationist, protectionist promises have worried many in Europe — prepares to assume the U.S. presidency. With many questions around Trump’s foreign policy plans, E.U. foreign ministers agreed Monday at talks in Brussels on the need to strengthen Europe’s role in world affairs until the future of trans-Atlantic relations becomes clearer. President Obama and top diplomats agreed to continue cooperation with NATO. During the campaign, Trump suggested that he could abandon NATO commitments.
President-elect Donald Trump promised to freeze federal hiring soon after taking office to fight corruption. Freezes have been imposed before with results ranging from ineffective to injurious. He also wants to fire federal workers faster in the Department of Veterans Affairs, and two of his top advisers are pushing fast-track terminations governmentwide. Depending on the rationale, the freeze plan defies reason or is simply bad policy. Accelerated firing without careful planning that could threaten civil service protections for the public. Previous hiring freezes caused staffing problems, damaged recruiting efforts, disrupted government operations and lost money owed Uncle Sam.
Guantanamo might be getting bigger. President Obama is running out of time to fulfill his promise to shutter the prison at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. If Obama can’t close it, his successor likely won’t. Donald Trump has pledged to keep Guantanamo open. He also said that he would support trying U.S. citizens accused of terrorism at the base, though that would require Congress to change federal law and would likely face constitutional challenges.
President-elect Donald Trump pledged that he would “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. He can’t do it alone. The rare exercise of repealing any act of Congress requires legislative action. And the massive Affordable Care Act — parts of which have broad public support — won’t be vanquished easily. “Replace” would be even harder. It would take months, at least, for lawmakers to construct a program that doesn’t leave the 20 million people now covered through Affordable Care Act exchanges or expanded Medicaid in the cold. Trump has argued that insurance firms should be allowed to compete for customers across state lines, but otherwise his alternative solutions are sketchy.
Kansas City Star
In his first post-election interview, Donald Trump said that he will focus on deporting criminal immigrants and not everyone living in the U.S. illegally. Up to 3 million people could be immediate targets under this approach, Trump said. He also said he may be amenable to a fence along parts of the roughly 2,000-mile border instead of a wall. As a candidate, he called for everyone living in the U.S. illegally to return to their home countries and for Mexico to pay for the wall.
Seventy-six national security experts urged President-elect Donald Trump on Monday to reverse his hostility to the nuclear agreement signed with Iran last year and to use it as a tool to ease other tensions with the country. A National Iranian American Council report signed by the experts, including former officials from both major political parties, argued that the nuclear agreement had reduced the threat of war in the Middle East. Trump has called the nuclear agreement a foreign-policy disaster. He vowed during his campaign to renegotiate or renounce the deal, one of President Obama’s signature achievements. The report urged the incoming Trump administration to use the nuclear agreement as the basis for cooperation on other issues, including a desire by Iran and the United States to eliminate the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which has convulsed the Middle East and carried out attacks in the West.
New York Times
The expansion of Medicaid, a central pillar of the Affordable Care Act, faces immense uncertainty next year, with President-elect Donald Trump and top Republicans in Congress embracing proposals that could leave millions of poorer Americans without health insurance and jeopardize a major element of President Obama’s legacy. But influential figures in the new administration might balk at a broad rollback of Medicaid’s reach, favoring new conditions for access to the government insurance program for the poor but not wholesale cutbacks. Mike Pence, the vice president-elect, is proud of the Medicaid expansion he engineered as governor of Indiana, one of 31 states that expanded eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.
New York Times
A single sentence in President-elect Donald Trump’s health care platform sends a strong hint to the drug and medical device industry that they may have an easier time getting their products on the market under his administration. “Reform the Food and Drug Administration, to put greater focus on the need of patients for new and innovative medical products,” his plan states. The bullet point may seem almost bland, but efforts to integrate patients’ preferences and encourage innovation often result in proposals aimed at speeding up the process for getting new medicines on the market by easing regulations. “The language … is industry code for deregulation and reducing of safety standards,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog.
The long-stalled plan to stash radioactive waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain is set to be revived with the arrival of Donald Trump and the exit of the project’s most ardent Senate foe, Harry Reid, D-Nev. Two people with knowledge of Trump’s plans said the issue is being discussed as a wave of nuclear power plant retirements intensifies pressure to find a home for more than 70,000 metric tons of radioactive waste stored at those facilities
Two months before Election Day, Donald Trump pledged to fix American child care — starting with the tax code. He proposed allowing parents to deduct the average cost of care from their income taxes, an expense that can annually reach up to $22,000. He also said mothers who give birth would become eligible for six weeks of partly paid maternity leave, a new benefit that would come from a tweak to the nation’s unemployment insurance program. The average weekly payout, his team said, would fall around $300. Republicans have traditionally avoided tackling specific issues working families face, but as the cost of child care has soared and workers nationwide clamored for relief, pressure has mounted this year on both sides. Amid this political climate, Trump unveiled child-care and maternity leave policy proposals, inspired by his older daughter, Ivanka.
Dozens of major regulations passed recently by the Obama administration could be undone with the stroke of a pen by Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress starting in January, thanks to a little-used law that dates to 1996. And it comes with a scorched-earth kicker: If the law is used to strike down a rule, the federal agency that issued it is barred from enacting a similar regulation again. The obscure law — called the Congressional Review Act — was passed 20 years ago. It gives Congress 60 legislative days to review and override major regulations enacted by federal agencies. In the Senate, the vote would not be subject to filibuster. More than 150 rules adopted since late May are potentially vulnerable, including limits on formaldehyde use and stricter truck fuel efficiency rules; a Food and Drug Administration ban on the sale of antibacterial soaps; a requirement that federal contractors provide paid sick leave for their workers; stricter consumer protections on prepaid debit cards; federal loan forgiveness for students at schools that shut down; a rule that bars nursing homes that receive federal funding from requiring residents to resolve all disputes through arbitration, rather than in court.
New York Times
President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in a phone conversation Monday that relations between their countries were “unsatisfactory” and vowed to work together to improve them. Moscow said the two men discussed combining efforts in the fight against terrorism, talked about “a settlement for the crisis in Syria” and agreed that their aides would begin working on a face-to-face meeting between them. Trump’s office later said that they had discussed shared threats and challenges, “strategic economic issues” and the long-term relationship between the two nations. Trump has said that the two countries should join together to fight terrorists, particularly the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Syria. Those views put Trump at odds with many GOP defense hawks, who are uniformly suspicious of Moscow and have denounced Russian actions in Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Syria. Military and civilian leaders at the Pentagon have strongly opposed collaboration with Russia, particularly in Syria. President Obama and European Union leaders last week agreed unanimously to continue sanctions against Russia over its incursions into Ukraine.
“My tax cut is the biggest since Ronald Reagan. I’m very proud of it. It will create tremendous numbers of new jobs,” Donald Trump said during the campaign. He wants to reduce the corporate tax from 35 percent to 15 percent, repeal the estate tax, reduce the number of income brackets and change how some business taxes are collected. All require congressional approval. Some of those changes — estate tax repeal, for example — could move through Congress quickly. But the more difficult parts may take months to pass. The Tax Foundation says his plan will cost the government about $600 billion a year for 10 years, worsening the federal deficit. Trump has promised 4 percent growth, which he says will provide enough revenue to offset the lower rates.
Kansas City Star
Much of Donald Trump’s campaign was built on a promise to help struggling U.S. workers who are frustrated by job losses. He has said that he intends to take actions to pursue those policies on his first day, including announcing his intention to renegotiate or withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement and to stop pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both actions are well within his powers as president.