Trump Asserts “America First” Security Strategy
December 18, 2017
Trump seeks to make national security strategy “America First”; Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to support GOP tax plan; U.S. Housing Market Index Hits Highest Level in 18 Years.
- Trump seeks to make national security strategy “America First”. President Trump on Monday unveiled a new national security strategy modeled on his “American First” campaign theme. The 55-page document, drafted over the course of a year, positions the United States in competition with “revisionist” powers like Russia and China.. Trump reiterated his campaign promises to strengthen U.S. borders and listed a number of moves he said delivered on those promises, including the withdrawal from the “job-killing” Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and the “expensive and unfair” Paris climate accord. Every president is mandated by Congress to issue a national security strategy to guide the administration’s decision making in foreign affairs. [The Hill]
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to support GOP tax plan. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Monday that she plans to support the GOP tax plan. Collins supported the Senate’s version after her amendments were included in the bill, as well as a promise from Senate GOP leadership to pass the bills aimed at stabilizing the individual health insurance market under ObamaCare. Several amendments that Collins suggested were incorporated into the bill, including restoring a $10,000 deduction for state and local property taxes and a lower threshold for deducting medical expenses. With Collins’ vote, Senate Republicans believe they have the votes to pass the tax plan as soon as Tuesday evening. With a 52-seat majority, they can only afford to lose two GOP senators and still allow Vice President Pence Break a tie. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is expected to miss the tax vote, and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who supported the Senate bill, has not said if he will back the conference agreement. However, GOP Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Mike Lee (Utah), three key holdouts, have said they will support the bill. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. Housing Market Index Hits Highest Level in 18 Years. Confidence among U.S. homebuilders surged in December to the highest level since July 1999, exceeding all analyst estimates, according to data on Monday from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo. The housing market index rose to 74 form a downwardly revised 69 in November. The median estimate was 70, with forecasts ranging from 68 to 72. The strong reading indicates that developers expect demand to advance amid steady economic growth and a tightening job market. Mortgage rates remain near record lows, making borrowing attractive for prospective buyers. Demand for properties is on the rise, with a gauge of homebuyer traffic reaching a 19-year high, according to the survey. [Bloomberg]