Trump Administration on the Clock to Make Major Policy Changes [Opinion]

As we enter the fall season, it seems hard to believe that President Trump was elected nearly one year ago. 2017 has barreled forward at a dizzying pace and now just a few scarce months remain in this year.

The first 12 to 14 months of a President’s term are the most valuable, as typically the leader’s popularity and strength is highest immediately following the election.

Looking back at the accomplishments of recent administrations during this window, President Obama signed an economic stimulus bill in February 2009 and pushed through his controversial Affordable Care Act by March 2010. President George W. Bush signed a $1.35 trillion tax reduction package in June 2001 and the No Child Left Behind education reform bill the following January. President Bill Clinton saw his plan for deficit reduction passed in August 1993 and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ratified that December.

For President Trump, this valuable window of time is rapidly nearing its end. Many opportunities for enhancing America’s economy are still waiting for action.

Issues The Trump Administration Should Move Forward on Soon

Among the policies the Administration has still to address are:

  • Tax reform
  • Legislation to deal with agriculture’s immigrant labor crisis
  • Renegotiation of NAFTA
  • Infrastructure reinvestment.

Additionally, Congress must increase the nation’s debt limit when the current temporary fix expires and develop a plan to keep the government functioning past that point.

Mid-Term Elections Make Passing Legislation Much Harder

The potato industry is strongly supportive of Congressional leaders and the Administration moving these vital policies forward before the mid-term election cycle is upon us.

The overall economy would greatly benefit from such positive actions.

Revitalizing our tax code, providing certainty as to the legal status of the agricultural workforce, and increasing our competitiveness through strong trade agreements are long overdue.

The Farm Bill is Looming, Too

It should be noted the farm bill will expire just one year from now. NPC actively participated in finalizing the fruit and vegetable industry’s recommendations for the 2018 Farm Bill.

For the upcoming farm bill to build on the strengths of the current bill, there must be bipartisan Congressional support and a strong boost from the Trump Administration.

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has been an energetic advocate for American agriculture, undertaking an RV road tour over the summer. He is certainly pushing the Administration to ensure deliberations on trade policy always include a strong focus on the impact they will have on U.S. producers and exports.

There’s Still a Window of Opportunity

Though the months following the November elections have been volatile, the opportunity still exists to make meaningful changes on these federal policies. Success will require a focused effort by the President and Congressional leaders. In the interest of seeing our industry and the country thrive over the next few years, we encourage them to take up this challenge and will work with them to see it become a reality.

The National Potato Council keeps a close watch on Washington’s impact on potato growers. John Keeling is its Executive Vice President and CEO. Reach him at spudinfo@nationalpotatocouncil.org.

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