Trump Address to Congress; Zinke Confirmed
**In his first address to Congress, President Trump declared the “time for small thinking is over” and called for massive infrastructure spending, deep tax cuts and immigration reforms he promised would unleash new economic growth.
Trump also touted his “historic effort” to roll back and eliminate “job-crushing” regulations, and his decisions to clear the way for construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines.
He did not, however, mention the “waters of the United States” rule directly, but earlier in the day he signed an executive order to withdraw and replace the measure.
** The Senate confirmed Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary, putting him in charge of managing 400 million acres of Western lands, much of that critical to ranchers and energy interests, and enforcing the Endangered Species Act.
The 55 year old former Navy Seal is an avid outdoorsman who won quick support from wildlife groups because of his record of opposing the transfer of federal lands to states and local governments.
** The chief ag trade negotiator for President Obama mixed in some hopeful projections and risks of trade disruption and possible economic losses brought on by the President’s aggressive tack on foreign trade.
Darci Vetter, who led ag negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which President Trump has rejected, says withdrawal from the TPP “doesn’t mean much,” pointing out it would have resulted in about 85,000 more tons of sugar annually from Australia and Canada.
However, she says it does create a substantial disadvantage for U.S. exports.