Feb 02 2018
This Tuesday President Trump delivered the first State of the Union of the 45th presidency of the United States and he was privileged to accurately report that the state of our union is strong.
The United States economy grew at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in 2017, and growth exceeded 2016 levels in every quarter. Unemployment fell from 4.7 percent in January 2017 to 4.1 percent this month. And wages grew 2.9 percent in 2017, a level not seen since 2009.
Not only are more Americans working for higher wages, but starting next month millions of Americans will also start benefiting from the tax cut Congress passed and President Trump signed this past December.
According to the centrist Brookings Institute, the bill will reduce taxes for all income groups by an average of $1,600 in 2018, and according to The New York Times tax calculator, the typical Utah family with three kids making the state median income of $66,000 will see an average $1,680 tax cut.
American families would not have been able to save this much money in taxes without the hard work of Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and First Daughter Ivanka Trump, who all worked tirelessly to increase the Child Tax Credit from $1000 to $2000 and make $1400 of that amount refundable.
The Senate has also been working diligently to fill the many vacancies open throughout the federal court system. The biggest, of course, being Justice Neil Gorsuch who was confirmed to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on April 10, 2017. I had the good fortune of appearing before then-Judge Gorsuch when he was on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and can honestly report that he is one of the best judges in the country. He came to oral argument prepared with probing and fair questions that helped everyone better understand the issues before the court. The nation is lucky to have him on the highest court.
In addition to Gorsuch, the Senate confirmed 18 other federal judges, the most ever in the first year of a presidency. By the end of 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee also approved another 25 judicial nominations that are now awaiting final Senate confirmation, and another 25 judicial nominations are currently waiting for Judiciary Committee approval. With the help of the Senate, President Trump is on track to fill a record number of judicial appointments, thus reshaping the federal judiciary for a generation.
Our nation’s rural communities also received some much needed help in 2017 as President Trump rolled back multiple restrictive regulations pushed on them by wealthy urban environmental special interests. Burdensome methane restrictions and reporting requirements were either stalled or rolled back entirely. Restrictive new planning requirements for public land use were undone as were burdensome new truck efficiency standards.
For Utahns, however, no decision was bigger than President Trump’s December order to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument from President Obama’s oppressive 1.35 million acres to a much more sensible 200,000 acres. The rural communities around Bears Ears that rely on grazing and other uses of public lands were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing that, at least for the next four years, the federal government would not be invading their lands and upending their way of life.
There still is much for Congress and the White House to do over the next three years, but 2017 was a very solid start.