State of the Union Address

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On the eve of his impeachment acquittal, President Trump stood before both chambers of Congress to deliver his third State of the Union Address. A divided room cheered and jeered the President throughout the speech which touted his administration’s accomplishments during his first term in office. Despite the tension, President Trump delivered his remarks to the American people and touched on important issues for 2020 voters. Several of these issues were pertinent to seniors and those planning for retirement. 

One of the issues in particular was that of Social Security. In 2019, a report released by the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund projected that Social Security is on pace to be depleted by the year 2035. At the same time, the report states that the payout for benefits would be reduced to 80% if no action is taken. President Trump exclaimed that Social Security will be protected while extending an olive branch to Democrats willing to work with him on ensuring the solvency of the program. Furthermore, Trump discussed healthcare and the cost of prescription drugs. One of the promises of his 2016 campaign was to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, as well as making healthcare more affordable. Trump made it clear that he was willing to work with bipartisan support to ensure that these two campaign promises are kept. 

Another initiative President Trump went on to accentuate was in the medical care industry. By signing an executive order mandating price transparency, Trump believes that this will be more efficient for Americans than larger healthcare reforms. In doing so, he argues, Americans will have access to the care that they need without being blindsided by the cost – a significant benefit for Americans who live on a fixed-income. Trump continued by attacking plans to subsidize medicare for undocumented immigrants, which he claims would drain the system that American seniors desperately rely on for their care. 

Early on in the address, President Trump highlighted the success and growth of retirement plans such as 401(k)s and pensions under his administration. Although the effects of the 2019 SECURE Act have yet to be seen, provisions in the new law seek to expand access to retirement plans for working individuals, even those who work part-time. The SECURE Act, which President Trump signed into law as part of a larger appropriations bill, further increased the cap limit on contributions an individual can make when investing in a 401(k) retirement plan. 

President Trump further discussed the success of the economy, citing a “blue collar boom” due to renegotiated trade deals, tax cuts, and deregulation. All in all, his speech resonated around the idea that the United States has made a “Great American Comeback,” and the best years have yet to come. Throughout his speech, he made reference to several individuals in the gallery that have been impacted by his administration’s actions during his first term in office. These actions included his administration’s stance on illegal immigration, criminal justice reform, Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, and school choice. 
The night was diverted when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began ripping pages of her copy of the State of the Union Address as President Trump concluded his speech. There is no doubt that President Trump and House Speaker Pelosi have much disdain for each other as the two have had a myriad of contentious encounters since Pelosi regained the speakership in 2019. Pelosi, also known for her active role in the house impeachment of President Trump, stated that her actions were “courteous” adding, “considering the alternative.”

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