Skip to main content

Some key points from President Trump's joint address to Congress

Healthcare, immigration and budget announcements could have implications for Minnesotans in the future.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

President Donald Trump's speech to Congress on Tuesday night revealed a few things that will have some implications for Minnesotans.

While Bloomberg reports the speech didn't provide the specific policy details some were looking for, prompting a muted reaction from the financial markets, Trump's speech did confirm how he wants the government to frame important issues going forward.

GoMN has picked out a few elements of the speech, which you can read in full here, that could particularly affect Minnesota in the coming years.

Immigration changes and the VOICE office

Trump's announcement on legal immigration, which has implications for anyone planning on moving to Minnesota or bringing foreign family members over to Minnesota, could be significant.

He called for a "merit-based immigration system" similar to those in place in Canada and Australia, which would mean a switch away from "lower-skilled immigration."

He said: "It will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families, including immigrant families, enter the middle class."

CNBC reports that America hasn't had merit-based immigration since 1965, when president Lyndon Johnson changed the policy from a discretionary, merit-based system to one favoring immigrants with family ties to people already living in the U.S.

Ending that policy could mean it'll be more difficult to bring foreign spouses and family members to the U.S. unless they have a specified skill level.

Probably the most controversial announcement, one that drew gasps from some members of Congress, was the creation of the Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement (VOICE) office.

This, Trump said, would be created by Homeland Security to "serve American victims" of crimes committed by immigrants in the U.S., potentially including those here legally and illegally, victims he says have been "ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests."

Details of how this would operate are sparse right now. It seems that it would support the victims of immigrant crime but the Independent reports it would also be used to keep a list of these crimes. The San Diego Union-Tribune say opponents fear such a list would be used as a propaganda tool to whip-up "anti-immigrant hysteria."

Infrastructure and budgets

Getting standing applause from House Speaker Paul Ryan – who Politico reports opposed major infrastructure investments under the previous administration – Trump pledged to continue pursuing a $1 trillion infrastructure package to rebuild America's aging roads, bridges and transportation facilities.

But the reason Ryan appears to be more on board with this plan is that it's intended to be funded using a mixture of public and private investment, with Ryan previously stating he wants to see $40 of private spending for every $1 of public, The Hill notes.

Minnesota could use some of that money. More than half of Minnesota's roads are over 50 years old and 40 percent of its bridges are over 40 years old, according to Governor Mark Dayton.

In 2015, he said $6 billion extra was needed over the next 10 years just to close the deficit in the state's highways funding.

On a more local level, the Star Tribune reported last year that Minnesota's cities need an extra $400 million a year to improve streets.

Few details we didn't know about were revealed by Trump in terms of his budget, reiterating his plans to increase spending on defense and veterans, and promising "massive tax relief for the middle class" and corporations through future tax reform, again without many specifics being released.

Trump didn't address how he would pay for his spending, tax cut and infrastructure plans, with Reuters reporting it could add "dramatically to budget deficits." He did announce last week that government agencies like the EPA and State department would have to make budget cuts.

Healthcare and childcare

The repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act has proven quite the challenge for Republicans in the six weeks since the inauguration.

They have been trying to figure out a way of keeping some of the popular tenets of the ACA, such as keeping the rule that insurers cannot deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, at the same time as reducing the costs of individual insurance and not causing millions of people to lose their coverage.

CNBC reports Trump outlined on Tuesday five principles of what he calls a "better healthcare system," which would keep the pre-existing condition coverage rule, expand Medicaid funding and retain tax credits that reduce the costs of insurance for low-income Americans.

He wants to expand coverage through Health Savings Accounts, which provide less comprehensive insurance but allow you to save money pre-tax to use on medical bills, and he re-iterated his campaign pledge to allow people to buy health insurance from other states.

Finally, he called for a reduction in the price of prescription drugs, which Politico reports brought a cheer from Democrats.

It comes just a week after a draft of a proposed Republican healthcare bill was leaked. It contained cuts to insurance tax credits and capping Medicaid spending, two things Trump says he wants to keep or expand, NBC News reports.

On Tuesday, Trump also offered bipartisan negotiations to discuss expanding access to affordable childcare, increase paid family leave, and boost investment in women's health care.

Next Up


Animal Humane Society plans trailblazing new campus

Take a look inside the plans for a first-of-its-kind adoption center and animal care campus.


Minnesota reports 'concerning level' of syphilis cases

The Minnesota Department of Health says most of the cases are being discovered in the northern part of the state.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Airport police intercept 5,600 fentanyl pills headed to St. Cloud

Three were arrested following a police raid in St. Cloud.


Minnesota switches to weekly COVID updates

The weekly updates will be provided on Thursdays.

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 12.22.08 PM

Man shot inside Oakdale movie theater expected to survive

The 23-year-old victim underwent surgery and is recovering at the hospital.


Minnesota confirms second case of monkeypox virus

More cases are expected in the coming days and weeks, the health department says.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, June 29

One of the newly reported deaths was a person aged 15-19 from Yellow Medicine County.

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 10.19.37 AM

Drone drops bag of candy near kids fishing

A black SUV quickly left the area afterwards.

FLickr - AL Franken 2016 - Lorie Shaull

Al Franken to bring comedy tour to Minneapolis

Acme Comedy is hosting the former senator in late August.


Alabama replaces Toby Keith as headliner at MN music festival

The Lakefront Music Festival is set to take place in Prior Lake on July 8-9.


5 key points from President Trump's $4.1 trillion budget proposal

Trump's budget features welfare cuts, extra defense spending, and implications for student loans.

Welcome, President Trump: Key points from his first speech as POTUS

Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States.

Key points from Trump's tax plan: What would it mean for your finances?

His plan would have major implications for families and businesses.

Key points from Donald Trump's first news conference since the election

What Donald Trump had to say during his first news conference after winning the election.

What Minnesota lawmakers thought of President Trump's address

What Minnesota's U.S. representatives and senators had to say about the president's speech.

Why are Congress, President Trump, the DOJ and the FBI fighting about the Nunes memo?

The controversial memo could be released on Friday, but what's in it?

After Trump directive, the House is expected to vote on health plan today

The bill has come in for criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.

Appeals court refuses to reinstate President Trump's travel ban

President Trump had asked the appeals court to lift the restraining order blocking his new immigration rules.