Paralysis or Progress
[EMA-revised June 21, 2017]  Given media coverage, one might expect that the investigations and controversy surrounding the Trump Administration would lead to a state of paralysis.  Despite the headlines,
Republicans still hold the reins of power, and the Administration and the Congress continue to work on policy changes big and small.
An unprecedented, steady stream of reports presenting a dire picture of dysfunctionality within the administration, to the point where some commentators are ruminating about "President Pence," fills the media daily.  Trump is described as obsessed with the Russia investigation. 
Every day there is some new controversy or development.  Many officials have had to lawyer up as the special counsel investigation gets underway.  The administration is operating under siege.

Nonetheless the wheels of government roll on.  A lot can be done in the departments and agencies through adminstrative actions.  The White House issues frequent announcements of new personnel, although these get little attention. 
On Capitol Hill, the budget process (>) is underway and there is the prospect of significant cuts to many programs favored by Democrats.  Following earlier House action, work is going on in the Senate, in secret, on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.  At his first full Cabinet meeting on June 12, Trump declared, “We’ve been about as active as you can possibly be and at a just about record-setting pace (>).” 

On the political front Republicans are concerned about what might happen in the 2018 mid-term elections, and
one need only look to the 2010 mid-term elections (+) to see why.  The June 20 special election in GA-6 was closely watched for clues, and was the most expensive House race in U.S. history with over $50 million spent.  When the votes were tallied Republican Karen Handel won by 3.8 pecentage points over Democrat Jon Ossoff (+). 


One must expect further media frenzies in the months ahead.  Generating waves of controversy seems to be standard operating procedure for candidate and now President Donald Trump.  While those stories draw the headlines, it is important not to lose sight of what is happening in the federal government.

A handful of examples of activity...

>administrative actions

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

June 15, 2017

Rescission of Memorandum Providing for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”)

On June 15, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, after consulting with the Attorney General, signed a memorandum rescinding the November 20, 2014 memorandum that created the program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”) because there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy. 
The rescinded memo purported to provide a path for illegal aliens with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child to be considered for deferred action.  To be considered for deferred action, an alien was required to satisfy six criteria:

(1) as of November 20, 2014, be the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;

(2) have continuously resided here since before January 1, 2010;

(3) have been physically present here on November 20, 2014, and when applying for relief;

(4) have no lawful immigration status on that date;

(5) not fall within the Secretary’s enforcement priorities; and

(6) “present no other factors that, in the exercise of discretion, make [ ] the grant of deferred action inappropriate.”

Prior to implementation of DAPA, twenty-six states challenged the policies established in the DAPA memorandum in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The district court enjoined implementation of the DAPA memorandum, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, and the Supreme Court allowed the district court’s injunction to remain in place.

The rescinded policy also provided expanded work authorization for recipients under the DACA program for three years versus two years.  This policy was also enjoined nationwide and has now been rescinded. 

The June 15, 2012 memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain in effect.

For more information, see our frequently asked questions and signed memo.

>administrative actions

U.S. Department of Labor

June 7, 2017

US Secretary of Labor withdraws joint employment, independent contractor informal guidance

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta today announced the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors.  Removal of the administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the department’s long-standing regulations and case law. The department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction, including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Democratic National Committee

Tom Perez Statement on White House Rollback of Worker Classification Protections


Following the Trump administration’s reversal of Department of Labor worker guidance meant to fight worker misclassification to protect millions of independent contractors, DNC Chair TomPerez issued the following statement:


“Democrats believe all workers deserve to have a voice on the job, good benefits, and safe working conditions. Trump’s cold and cruel decision to withdraw guidance to protect workers who are cheated out of their wages gives a green light to employers to cut corners and costs on the backs of hardworking Americans.


“When companies play games with workers’ rights, everyone loses – workers, taxpayers, and responsible businesses that play by the rules. That’s why, during my time as Secretary of Labor, we aggressively fought worker misclassification, recouping millions of dollars in hard-earned wages for American families.


“Instead of encouraging employers to cut wages and benefits for American workers, Trump’s administration should be working to decrease misclassification and protect critical workplace protections that every worker deserves.”



>infrastructure week
The White House
June 09, 2017

Remarks by President Trump on Regulatory Relief

Department of Transportation

Washington, D.C.

June 9, 2017

11:40 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Secretary Chao.  Thank you, everybody.  This is very nice, by the way.  Beautiful.  I want to really thank you.  You have been so amazing as the leader of this department, and the progress is being made so quickly.  Leaders and officials gathered here from across the country have all praised the work that the Secretary is doing to create a safe, modern and reliable transportation system for the United States and for its great, great, great people.

I also want to thank Secretary Zinke for the fantastic job he’s doing at the Department of the Interior to clear the way for new infrastructure and economic development. 

Both Secretary Chao and Zinke joined us at the White House yesterday for a meeting with state and local leaders to develop plans to replace America’s decaying infrastructure and construct new roads, rails, pipelines, tunnels, and bridges all across our nation.

We are here today to focus on solving one of the biggest obstacles to creating this new and desperately needed infrastructure, and that is the painfully slow, costly, and time-consuming process of getting permits and approvals to build.  And I also knew that from the private sector.  It is a long, slow, unnecessarily burdensome process.

My administration is committed to ending these terrible delays once and for all.  The excruciating wait time for permitting has inflicted enormous financial pain to cities and states all throughout our nation and has blocked many important projects from ever getting off the ground.  Many, many projects are long gone because they couldn’t get permits and there was no reason for it.

We’ve already taken historic steps to speed up the approvals, including the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline -- which was very quickly approved.  They were sitting there for a long time saying, well, that project is dead.  Then I came into office and, all of the sudden, a miracle.  And I guarantee you, the consultants went over to the heads of the company and told them what a great job they did.  They asked for a lot of money, most likely.  But we got it approved.  And we got it approved fast. 

I’m also very proud to say that the Dakota Access Pipeline is now officially open for business.  It was dead 120 days ago, and now it officially just opened for business. Very proud of that.  Hi, Bill.
We’re also excited to be joined by representatives from our labor unions, including the North America Building Trades Union, which I know well, and the Laborers International Union of North America.  You will play a -- go ahead, fellas, take a little credit.  Come on, fellas. You will play a central role in rebuilding America.  Very important.

We’re also joined, as well, by many distinguished members of Congress who share our total passion and desire to repair and restore America’s highways, railways, and waterways.  In the audience is Chairman Bill Shuster of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  Stand up, Bill. Thank you, Bill, great job -- who is working very closely with us, including on our proposal to dramatically reduce airport delays by reforming air traffic control. 

We have an obsolete system.  And I have to say, before Elaine got here, they had spent close to $7 billion on the system.  Boom -- a waste.  All wasted.  But we’re going to have a great system -- great new system.  A top of the line -- it will be the best in the world.  Right now, we’re at the lowest part of the pack.  It will be the best in the world, for a lot less money than they’ve been wasting for years.

For too long, America has poured trillions and trillions of dollars into rebuilding foreign countries while allowing our own country -- the country that we love -- and its infrastructure to fall into a state of total disrepair.  We have structurally deficient bridges, clogged roads, crumbling dams and locks.  Our rivers are in trouble.  Our railways are aging.  And chronic traffic that slows commerce and diminishes our citizens' quality of life.  Other than that, we’re doing very well.

Instead of rebuilding our country, Washington has spent decades building a dense thicket of rules, regulations and red tape.  It took only four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge and five years to build the Hoover Dam and less than one year to build the Empire State Building.  People don’t believe that.  It took less than one year.  But today, it can take 10 years and far more than that just to get the approvals and permits needed to build a major infrastructure project. 

These charts beside me are actually a simplified version of our highway permitting process.  It includes 16 different approvals involving 10 different federal agencies being governed by 26 different statutes. 

As one example -- and this happened just 30 minutes ago -- I was sitting with a great group of people responsible for their state’s economic development and roadways.  All of you are in the room now.  And one gentleman from Maryland was talking about an 18-mile road.  And he brought with him some of the approvals that they’ve gotten and paid for.  They spent $29 million for an environmental report, weighing 70 pounds and costing $24,000 per page.

And I said, do me a favor.  I’m going to make a speech in a little while.  Do you mind if I take that and show it?  So I’m going to show it.  So they spent millions and millions of dollars.  When I said, how long has this short roadway been talked about, the gentleman said, well, if you say 20 years, you’re safe.  I said, yeah, don’t say anymore because I have to be -- you know, I have to be exactly accurate with these people.  I was off by like two months -- it’s a major front-page story.

But these binders on the stage could be replaced by just a few simple pages, and it would be just as good.  It was actually be much better.  Because these binders also make you do unnecessary things that cost billions and billions of dollars and they actually make it worse.

As another example, the 23 -- if you look at it, in Ohio, the Ohio River Bridge -- $2.3 billion.  The project amassed a 150,000-page administrative record -- 150,000 pages is a five-story-tall building.  Think of it.  If you put the paper together, it’s a five-story building.

How can a country prosper under this kind of nonsense?  And I know it.  I know it so well, being in the private sector.  But you know, in the private sector you move, and you wheel, and you deal, and you hope, and you pray.  And maybe it goes a little faster, but it’s a horrible thing in the private sector also.  And we’re talking about reducing that for the private sector likewise.

Why should we continue to accept what is so clearly unacceptable?  Oftentimes, the consultants -- that are making a fortune because you can’t doing anything without hiring them, paying them a tremendous amount of money, having them write up this nonsense -- you can’t get approvals.  And they’re in, in the case of New York, Albany -- they go to Albany, the state capital or, here, they go to Washington for federal.  And they want to make it really tough because that way, you have to hire them.  It's a terrible thing.  It's a group of people -- probably nobody has ever heard anybody talk about it because -- I know it because I'm a business guy, I understand that.  They work really hard to make it difficult.  And some are believers, but most aren't.  Most want to make a lot of money.  So they make a very, very simple roadway or whatever you want to be building a very complicated subject, and they make it very much more expensive and they make it worse.  It's not as good as it would have been.

I was not elected to continue a failed system.  I was elected to change it.  All of us in government service were elected to solve the problems that have plagued our nation.  We are here to think big, to act boldly, and to rise above the petty partisan squabbling of Washington D.C.  We are here to take action.  It’s time to start building in our country, with American workers and with American iron, and aluminum and steel. It’s time to put up soaring new infrastructure that inspires pride in our people and our towns.

When I approved the Keystone Pipeline I said, where was the pipe made?  Unfortunately, they had purchased a lot of it, but I put a little clause at the bottom -- you want to build a pipeline in this country, buy American steel and let it be fabricated here. Very simple little clause written in hand, but it does the trick.

It is time, at last, to put America First.  Americans deserve the best infrastructure anywhere in the world.  They deserve roads and bridges that are safe to travel, and pipes that deliver clean water into their homes.  Not like what happened in Flint, Michigan.  They deserve lanes of commerce that get people and products where they need to go on time.  Most of all, Americans deserve a system of infrastructure that is looked upon not with pity -- the world, in many cases, is so far advanced that they look at our infrastructure as being sad.  We want them to look at us with envy -- a system worthy of our magnificent country.

No longer can we allow these rules and regulations to tie down our economy, chain up our prosperity, and sap our great American spirit.  That is why we will lift these restrictions and unleash the full potential of the United States of America.

To all our state and local leaders, I appreciate you being here today.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you, Bill.  I want you to know that help is finally -- after many, many decades -- on its way. 

We are giving control back to the cities and the states.  You know best how to plan your communities, analyze your projects, and protect your local environment.

We will get rid of the redundancy and duplication that wastes your time and your money.  Our goal is to give you one point of contact to deliver one decision -- yes or no -- for the entire federal government, and to deliver that decision quickly, whether it's a road, whether it's a highway, a bridge, a dam.

To do this, we are setting up a new council to help project managers navigate the bureaucratic maze.  This council will also improve transparency by creating a new online dashboard allowing everyone to easily track major projects through every stage of the approval process.  This council will make sure that every federal agency that is consistently delaying projects by missing deadlines will face tough, new penalties.  I know it won't happen with these two.  We don't have to worry about them.  We will hold the bureaucracy accountable. 

We are also creating a new office in the Council of Environmental Quality to root out inefficiency, clarify lines of authority, and streamline federal and state and local procedures so that communities can modernize their aging infrastructure without fear of outdated federal rules getting in their way. 

This massive permit reform -- and that's what it is; it's a permit reform -- doesn’t sound glamorous.  They won't write stories about it.  They won't even talk about it.  But it's so important.  But it's only the first step in renewing America’s roads, rails, runways and rivers. 

As I discussed in Ohio recently, my new vision for American infrastructure will generate $1 trillion in infrastructure investment -- which we desperately need.  We've spent, as of a few months ago, $6 trillion in the Middle East.  Think of it -- $6 trillion in the Middle East.  And it's worse than it was 15 years ago by a factor of 10.  And yet, if you want to build a little road in one of your communities in Pennsylvania or Ohio, or in Iowa, or in North Carolina, or in Florida, you can't get the money.

State and local leaders will have more power to decide which projects get built, when they start and how they are funded.  And investors will have a much more predictable environment that encourages them to invest billions of dollars in capital that is currently stuck on the sidelines.

Together, we will build projects to inspire our youth, employ our workers, and create true prosperity for our people.  We will pour new concrete, lay new brick, and watch new sparks light our factories as we forge metal from the furnaces of our Rust Belt and our beloved heartland -- which has been forgotten. It's not forgotten anymore. 

We will put new American steel into the spine of our country.  American workers will construct gleaming new lanes of commerce across our landscape.  They will build these monuments from coast to coast, and from city to city.  And with these new roads, bridges, airports and seaports, we will embark on a wonderful new journey into a bright and glorious future.  We will build again.  We will grow again.  We will thrive again.  And we will Make America Great Again.

Thank you.  God bless you.  I appreciate it.  Thank you very much. Thank you.

>personnel announcements

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:
If confirmed, David G. Ehrhart of Texas will serve as Air Force General Counsel. Mr. Ehrhart most recently served as Associate General Counsel at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, where he was the lead attorney responsible for the F-35 Program advising the company on critical legal issues affecting the program for the United States Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and nine international partners. Mr. Ehrhart previously served as the Chief Counsel of Global Sustainment at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. 

Mr. Ehrhart previously served 33 years in the Air Force, retiring as a Brigadier General, including tours as Staff Judge Advocate for the Air Force Materiel Command’s headquarters and Assistant Judge Advocate General for Military Law & Operations for the United States Air Force’s headquarters. Mr. Ehrhart also served as commander of the Air Force Legal Services Agency, Staff Judge Advocate at the United States Air Force European headquarters, and Commandant of the Air Force Judge Advocate General School. 

Mr. Ehrhart is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Utah, and the Creighton University School of Law. He is a recipient of the Creighton University School of Law Alumni Merit Award and the Air Force Association Outstanding Senior Judge Advocate of the Year Award. 

If confirmed, Jeffrey Gerrish of Maryland will serve as Deputy United States Trade Representative for Asia, Europe, the Middle East & Industrial Competitiveness with the Rank of Ambassador. Mr. Gerrish is currently a partner in the International Trade Group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.  He has wide-ranging experience on a variety of international trade issues. In particular, he has extensive experience litigating trade disputes before the Department of Commerce, International Trade Commission, Federal courts, North American Free Trade Agreement binational panels and the World Trade Organization. Mr. Gerrish has been appointed by the chief judge of the United States Court of International Trade to serve as a member of the Court’s Rules Advisory Committee. He received his J.D. from Duke University School of Law and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany.

If confirmed, Lucian Niemeyer of Pennsylvania will serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment. Mr. Niemeyer most recently served as president of The Niemeyer Group, LLC, where his responsibilities included advising public and private entities on national defense issues. 

Mr. Niemeyer was previously a professional staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, where he managed the military installations portfolio, provided oversight of Federal energy and environmental programs, and recommended authorization of military facility construction, repairs, and modernization. 

Mr. Niemeyer is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Georgia Washington University, and the Naval War College, and a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Virginia Air National Guard.

If confirmed, Nathan Alexander Sales of the District of Columbia will serve as Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank and status of Ambassador at Large, Department of State. Mr. Sales is an Associate Professor at Syracuse University College of Law, where he teaches and writes in the fields of national security and counterterrorism.  He is also of counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  A native of Canton, Ohio, Professor Sales received his B.A. from Miami University and his J.D. from Duke Law School.  After law school, he clerked for the Honorable David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  He previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security and as Senior Counsel in the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice.

If confirmed, Dawn DeBerry Stump of Texas will serve as Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Mrs. Stump is currently president of Stump Strategic, a consulting firm she founded in 2016.  Prior to assuming this role, Mrs. Stump served as executive director of the Americas Advisory Board for the Futures Industry Association and as a vice president at NYSE Euronext.  During much of her career, she served the public sector in staff positions at both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. While working in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, she focused on various farm policy matters and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.  She represented the Committee during the negotiation of complex financial derivatives policies, in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis.  Mrs. Stump is from Olton, Texas and grew up working in the agricultural sector.  She holds a degree in Agricultural Economics from Texas Tech University.

If confirmed, Eric Ueland of Oregon will serve as Under Secretary of State for Management. Mr. Ueland has been the Republican Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee since 2013.  Previously, he was vice president of The Duberstein Group, Inc., from 2007 to 2013.  He has served in senior positions in the U.S. Senate since 1996, including chief of staff posts for the Republican Senate Majority Leader and the Assistant Majority Leader.  Mr. Ueland has conducted strategic planning and execution on behalf of Senators, budget formulation and execution, administration of human resources, and execution of policy and politics in both the public and private sector.  He earned a B.A. in history from the University of San Francisco.

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Appoint Personnel to Key Administration Posts
President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:
Daniel Elwell of Virginia will serve as Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration at the Department of Transportation.  Mr. Elwell is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former pilot with over 6,000 hours of combined military and civilian flight time.  Shortly after transitioning from active service to reserve duty in the Air Force, Elwell’s unit was called into action during Operation Desert Storm.  Elwell was a commercial airline pilot for sixteen years before accepting an appointment as the Federal Aviation Administration’s Assistant Administrator for Policy under President George W. Bush.  During his 30-year career in aviation, Mr. Elwell has been a senior executive for several aviation trade associations and served as a Legislative Fellow for the late Senator Ted Stevens.  He has served on several boards and has been a member of several aviation-related committees through the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  Mr. Elwell lives in Virginia with his wife and three children.

Norman Sharpless of North Carolina will serve as the Director of the National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services.  Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, is director of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and a Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.  Dr. Sharpless earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He completed his internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and his hematology/oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care.  A practicing oncologist caring for patients with leukemia, Dr. Sharpless also leads a research group studying the cell cycle and its role in cancer and aging.  He has authored more than 150 original scientific papers, reviews and book chapters. He holds 10 patents that form the core intellectual property of two NC-based biotechnology startup companies. Dr. Sharpless is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He serves on the Association of American Cancer Institutes’ board of directors, and on the National Institute of Aging’s National Advisory Council on Aging.

Amy Cantu Thompson of Texas will serve as Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Amy C. Thompson of Texas will serve as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Ms. Thompson currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HUD, and previously served the Department during the George W. Bush Administration as Deputy Press Secretary.  In addition to her public service, Ms. Thompson possesses more than a decade of private-sector experience in strategic communications planning and crisis management for leaders in manufacturing, retail, and finance.  As Director of Communications for the Community Financial Services Association, she led a variety of communications initiatives affecting State and Federal policies for consumer lending.  Prior to that position, she managed public relations campaigns and executive speechwriting for Target Corporation in Minneapolis.  Ms. Thompson also served as a counselor and advisor to Fortune 500 Companies at Levick Strategic Communications, where she specialized in issues regarding government regulation and corporate reputation.  She received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of North Texas.


>potential major policy change
June 10, 2016



Direct Supply

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

June 10, 2016

1:22 P.M. CDT
     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Wisconsin!  (Applause.)  It is great to be back, great to be back with you all and back with my friend, Governor Scott Walker.  More on him in a moment.
Before I begin, though, allow me to take a moment to acknowledge what I learned about on my way here to Wisconsin today, the loss of American servicemembers that took place in Afghanistan.  On my way here, I was informed that U.S. servicemembers were killed and wounded in an attack in Afghanistan.  The President and I have been briefed.  The details of this attack will be forthcoming.
But suffice it to say, when heroes fall, Americans grieve, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these American heroes.
It is great to be back in the Badger State.  Thank you all for the warm welcome.  And I bring greetings today from my friend, the man that Wisconsin voted overwhelmingly to make the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)
The President asked me to be here today to thank the good people of Wisconsin not only for that decisive victory but also to assure you that the Badger State has a friend in the White House.  You’ll hear that firsthand when President Trump comes to Wisconsin on this coming Tuesday, and I know you're all looking forward to it.
Folks, in President Donald Trump, you elected a fighter and a winner, and he will never stop fighting for the American people and his agenda to make America great again.  I promise you that.  (Applause.)
But you all know about fighters, because that's also a pretty good description of the man who just gave me that very kind introduction.
You know, I’ve met quite a few governors over the years.  I’ve even had the privilege to be one myself, in the state of Indiana.  So let me just say, I mean it from my heart when I tell you, Governor Scott Walker is one of the best governors in the history of this state and in this history of this country.  Would you all mind getting on your feet and giving a rousing round of applause to Governor Scott Walker for the leadership that he provides every day.  (Applause.)
Let me also thank two more distinguished Wisconsin public servants who are here today.  I had the opportunity to serve with the first one in Washington, D.C., for all of my 12 years in the Congress, and I know full well that in Washington, D.C., there is no great stalwart for conservative principles and values that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner.  Congressman, thank you so much for being with us today.  (Applause.)  Thank you for that.  So well deserved.
And also I’m so honored to be joined by another principled leader who fights for Wisconsin and fights for conservative values every day, Congressman Glenn Grothman.  Thank you so much for being here.  (Applause.)
President Trump and I couldn’t be more grateful for the support of both of these leaders in the Congress of the United States.
And let me also thank our host today, Bob Hillis and the whole team here at Direct Supply for welcoming us to this extraordinary campus and this extraordinary American success story.  (Applause.)
It’s been 30-plus years, you’ve built everything that matters, Bob -- a good name, a strong and prosperous company that has made this community and made this state better for it.  Direct Supply is a true American success story, and that round of applause is so well deserved.
You know, I like to say that President Donald Trump has a three-part agenda for this administration -- jobs, jobs, and jobs.  And we are here to talk about the kind of changes that will promote a growing America.  (Applause.)

Since day one of this administration, our President has taken decisive action to put America back to work and get our economy moving again.
First off, if you haven’t noticed, the American people elected a builder to be the 45th President of the United States of America.  And we're actually at the end of what the President called Infrastructure Week, and I’m going to make you a promise -- and people heard about it all across Washington, D.C. and all across America -- President Donald Trump is going to keep his promise to rebuild the infrastructure of America and give us the best roads and bridges and airports and ports in the world.  (Applause.)
Just a few days ago in Cincinnati, the President declared that in his words, the “American people deserve the best infrastructure anywhere in the world.”   And he laid out a “Buy American, Hire American” plan to rebuild our country.
President Trump is going to make historic investments in our national infrastructure so that Wisconsin and states all across this country will have the infrastructure the best we've ever had.  
But this President’s leadership doesn’t stop there.  From the outset of this administration, I’m glad to report to you that President Trump has signed more laws into effect to roll back red tape than any President in American history.  (Applause.)
     He’s supported energy infrastructure in this country the day that he authorized the Keystone and Dakota pipelines to make affordable American energy flow for our business and our homes.  (Applause.)
And just over a week ago, President Donald Trump put American jobs and American workers first when he took decisive action to withdraw the United States of America from the Paris climate accord.  (Applause.)
It really is remarkable.  The burden placed on our country by the Paris climate accord, by one estimate, would have cost the American people 6.5 million jobs in the next 25 years, including 3 million manufacturing jobs, so important here in the heartland, while letting countries like China and India off virtually scot-free.
In withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, President Trump put Pittsburgh over Paris.  He put Milwaukee over Milan.  (Applause.)  In a word, President Donald Trump put America first, and he always will.
Folks, that’s what American leadership looks like.  And this President’s leadership is making a difference every single day.  American businesses are growing and investing in America again.  They're creating jobs in this country instead of shipping them overseas.
In fact, since the outset of this administration over 600,000 new private-sector jobs have been created.  And under President’s watch, unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years.  America is back under the leadership of President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)
But as the President Trump likes to say, at this White House that’s just what we call a good start.
And before I go one step further, let me just tell you from the outset that no matter what the media may be focused on on any given moment, I promise you President Donald Trump will never stop fighting.  He will never stop working.  He will never stop rolling up his sleeves every single day to ensure that the American people, and the agenda in their interest is advanced of good jobs, safe streets, and a boundless American future.  Count on it.  (Applause.)
The truth is that we’ve a lot of important work yet to do.  And working with Wisconsin’s leaders in the Congress, before this summer is out, maybe chief among those obligations, chief among those challenges is I promise you President Donald Trump and I are going to work our hearts out with these congressmen, and we're going to keep the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.)
It’s mostly what brings me here today.  We all remember the broken promises that helped Obamacare get passed to begin with.

They said if you like your doctor you could keep them.  Remember that one? 
They said if you like your health insurance you could keep it.  We were told that health insurance costs would actually go down not up. 
Every single one of those promises has been broken.  Now we know the facts.  Just last month, our administration released a new study proving that Obamacare has made health insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans.
Here in Wisconsin, as the Governor just said, Obamacare has spiked premiums on the individual market by 93 percent in just the past four years.  President Obama promised that you’d save up to $2,500, but the average premium costs nearly $3,000 per year more today than it did in 2013.
And here’s the disturbing thing, folks, Obamacare is a disaster here, but Wisconsin actually is doing better than most other states in the country.
     Nationwide, Obamacare has more than doubled premiums for working families.   From coast to coast, Americans are facing double-digit premium hikes heading into 2018.  It’s remarkable in some states we've actually seen health insurance premiums go up not by 93 percent, like here in Wisconsin, but in some cases, nearly 200 percent increases on working families and small businesses.
While Americans are paying more, they’re also actually also getting less for it.
Beyond the premiums, Obamacare plans have skyrocketing deductibles.  The cost of than $6,000 in deductible is average for what’s called a cheap plan.  I just heard about it from many of the business leaders that have gathered here today and shared their personal stories.
Obamacare plans offer fewer and fewer doctors and providers, making it much harder for working families to get the care that they need.
The American people know a bad deal when they see one, and that’s why they’re avoiding Obamacare like the plague.  The truth is the most recent information shows that more than 115,000 Wisconsin citizens paid $22 million in penalties to the IRS rather than even buying an unaffordable Obamacare plan. And nationwide, 6.5 million Americans paid $3 billion in penalties instead of signing up for Obamacare.

And going forward, many Americans might not even be able to sign for Obamacare if even they want to because health insurance companies are pulling out of Obamacare exchanges left and right.  Wisconsin has already lost four insurers in the past few years. States across the country have lost 83 insurers in 2017 alone. In fact, at this very moment, a third of America’s counties -- and five whole states -- only have one choice of insurance company, meaning they essentially have no choice at all.
And it’s only going to get worse.  In just the past few months, health insurers have said that they’re abandoning Obamacare in nearly two dozen markets, and tens of thousands of Americans, or more, won’t have any insurance coverage at all.
Just this week, more than 13,000 people in Ohio learned they’ll have no Obamacare choices next year.  In Missouri, 25 counties may be without health insurance coverage. 

And just next door, in Iowa, it looks like very soon 94 of 99 counties will have no Obamacare insurance to choose from at all, leaving tens of thousands of working families without access to the healthcare that they need.
Folks, we’re talking about real people, a real crisis -- and good people are being hurt for it, people like Julie Champine, who’s actually here with us today.
     I just had a chance to visit with Julie and her husband, and her story is a story that literally millions of Americans are facing every day.  Julie has been buying health insurance for her family on the individual market ever since 2004.  Now, Julie I can tell is a hardworking American.  She’s a great woman and has worked in a small business and living out her dreams every day.  She has a great family.  She’s a mother and grandmother.  But she’s had some health challenges and issues.  And we talked about them, and health insurance has been vitally important to her.
Julie wanted to believe it when President Obama promised her that she could keep her plan, that she keep her doctor under Obamacare, but she found out the hard way that that just wasn’t true.
Julie lost her family’s health insurance plan.  She lost her doctor.  And ever since, Julie has been forced to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchange -- insurance that she can’t really afford, can’t even use because the deductibles are so high.  Last year alone Julie’s Obamacare plan cost more than $9,000 in premiums, and it still had a deductible of $13,000. 
And it’s only gotten worse.  Late last year, Julie found out that her premiums were going to increase by another $2,600 in 2017.  Her Obamacare plan costs more than her mortgage, and she can’t even use it.
Folks, Julie literally can’t afford Obamacare.  In fact, as she just shared with me, Julie made the choice to stop paying for her health insurance for three months just so she could afford to buy Christmas presents for her children and grandchildren. 
Folks, that's just plain wrong.  No American should ever have to choose between their health care and their grandkids.  It’s heartbreaking.  And as Julie says, she essentially has got to a place where she said, “We have no hope.”
But as I just told her, help is on the way.  (Applause.)
Julie is here and she’s being willing to be the face of Obamacare’s failures here.  But she’s hardly alone.  I talked to people in Julie and her husband’s situation every day, all across this country.  We hear from them.  I see them as I travel.  She is living proof that Obamacare is collapsing and really taking the opportunities and frankly the quality of life of the American people with it.

As President Trump said just a few days ago, “Obamacare is dead.”  That's why Obamacare must go.  (Applause.)
The truth is you’d have to be blinded by partisanship not to believe otherwise -- and unfortunately some people are.  Democrats in Congress to be exact.
They’re the ones who gave us Obamacare, and now, as your congressmen will tell you, they won’t lift a finger to help us rescue the American people from this mess that they created.
Literally every single Democrat in Washington, D.C. would rather let Obamacare continue to collapse and put an enormous burden on the American people than help President Trump and Republicans in the House and Senate bring healthcare relief to hardworking Americans like Julie.
But as I told her help is on the way, and the Obamacare nightmare is about to end.  (Applause.)
Under President Donald Trump, we will rescue the American people from the disaster of Obamacare and give the American people the world-class healthcare that they deserve.
And before this summer is out, we’re going to finish what Wisconsin’s own Speaker Paul Ryan started.  And we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all.  Can we hear it for Wisconsin’s own Paul Ryan for the great work he’s done.  (Applause.)
Building on the work that Speaker Ryan and these great members of Congress did, our administration is working as we speak with the leaders in the United States Senate -- leaders like Wisconsin’s great Senator Ron Johnson -- to keep our promise to end this failed law, and I know he’ll be there.  (Applause.)
We’re going to repeal Obamacare’s job-killing mandates and remove the burden of Obamacare’s taxes on the American people.
We’re going to give Americans more choices with expanded health savings accounts and a new tax credit to help you buy the insurance you need at a price you can afford.
We’re going to make sure that every American with preexisting conditions has access to the coverage and the care they need -- no exceptions.  (Applause.)
And we’re going to reform and strengthen Medicaid to help the people who truly need it the most by giving states like Wisconsin the freedom and flexibility you need to take care of your most vulnerable -- because this President believes in state-based solutions, not one-size-fits-all mandates from Washington, D.C.  (Applause.)
     And the truth is under Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin has already innovated to provide healthcare coverage for your most vulnerable.  They've been setting the pace across the country.  I know your governor is seeking even more freedom and flexibility with his “Wisconsin Works for Everyone” plan, and under this administration, I promise you Governor Walker will be able to bring Wisconsin solutions to meet the unique healthcare challenges facing the people of Wisconsin.  When we repeal and replace Obamacare, Wisconsin will be able to design its own healthcare system for the people of this state.  (Applause.)
Governor Walker is going to be able to do it the Wisconsin Way, which is as I like to say, is the American Way -- state-based solutions and reform.
Folks, when the Congress sends us a repeal-and-replace bill to President Trump’s desk, we’re going to do nothing short of rescuing working Americans from the consequences of Obamacare’s collapse.  And it will be a historic day for American health care.
It’ll create a dynamic national health-insurance market with lower costs, higher quality, and more choices for working families by the time we're done.
It’ll give American businesses like all those that are gathered here today the freedom to give their employees the coverage that they want to give them, and that they need.
And after seven failed years of Obamacare, we’ll finally put the American people back in control of their own health care -- people like Julie and her family.

My friends, we’ve come to a pivotal moment in the life of our nation.  For the past seven years, we’ve had a healthcare system based on the flawed premise that the federal government should order every American to buy health insurance, whether you want it or need it or not; that bureaucrats and politicians know better than patients and doctors what they need; and worst of all; that the American people can’t be trusted to run their own lives or make their own healthcare choices as they see fit.
We have a chance before us today to restore a healthcare system based on the time-honored American principles of personal responsibility, free-market competition, state-based reform, and above all else, we have a chance to restore a healthcare system based on the ultimate American principle -- freedom and the freedom of the American people to live their lives and make their choices as they see fit.  (Applause.)
So we got our work cut out for us.  I mean we are talking about Washington, D.C. now.  But I am confident that if all of you will speak up, all of you will continue to stand up, and let your leaders in Washington, D.C. know just how strongly you feel, Julie coming over here and sharing her story was deeply inspiring to me.  These business leaders that came out and shared their story while the media looked on was deeply inspiring to me.
But make no mistake about it.  This is an important time to let your voice be heard so that not only can we get this country on the right track when it comes to healthcare reform, but that we can put America back on the right track to opportunity, prosperity, and greater freedom for every American.
From this day forward, I would submit to you that we need every ounce of your enthusiasm, your energy, your conviction, and your passion.

And in these divided times in the life of our nation, I would tell you that from my heart that we might just need one more thing if you’re of a mind.
In much more challenging times in the life of this nation, people that have taken time from time to bow the head and bend the knee have made a difference in this country.  So it would be a good time to do that.
Now I’m not talking about praying for any particular officeholder or any particular agenda.  I rather like what Abraham Lincoln said when during his time he was asked once if he thought God was on the side of the Union Army.  Lincoln responded, he said, rather than asking whether God is on our side, I’d rather concern myself more with whether we were on God’s side. 
So I’d just encourage you to pray for our country.  Pray in these challenging times that Americans will continue to come together.  Because I know that with your help, with these great leaders in your statehouse and great leaders in the Congress, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God’s help, I know we're going to make America safe again.  I know we're going to give Americans the ability to make choices in healthcare that will improve their lives again.  I know we're going to make America prosperous again.
And to borrow a phrase, I know we're going to make America great again.
Thank you very much.  God bless you, Wisconsin, and God bless the United States of America.
                          END            1:44 P.M. EDT

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