US President Trump addresses Congress in joint session

Global Business

U.S. President Donald Trump will make his first address to lawmakers on Tuesday.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough explains.
Follow Owen Fairclough on Twitter @owefair

US President Trump addresses Congress in joint session

US President Trump addresses Congress in joint session

U.S. President Donald Trump will make his first address to lawmakers on Tuesday.
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It’s a rare moment in American politics – a Republican President working with a Congress totally controlled by his political party.

From Nelson Mandela, to Britain’s Queen to the Pope: addressing the United States Congress is a rare invitation for foreign leaders.

It’s also uncommon for U.S. Presidents to address a joint session – meaning lawmakers from the House of Representatives and Senate together in one chamber.They generally head to Capitol Hill only once a year for the President’s State of the Union address.

And, Donald Trump’s first joint address has extra significance. This is only the third time in the modern political era that Republicans have controlled both chambers in Congress and the Presidency.

Many Democratic Presidents through the ages have enjoyed this kind of dominance too.

But they’ve also been hamstrung when Congress is controlled by the opposition party, as former U.S. President Barack Obama discovered.

Obama resorted to White House executive orders to enact policies that Congress opposed. That’s not a problem for Trump and the Republicans, who have the power undo much of Obama’s work.

Their agenda includes abolishing Obama’s landmark healthcare reform, building a wall on Mexico’s border and tax cuts.

Trump even wants to abolish an entire government department, the Environmental Protection Agency, which is consistent with his opposition to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Republicans will maintain this rare dominance of both the legislature and the White House until 2018- the next congressional elections. But, it’s likely to be a much tougher battle for Democrats. In the senate they’ll defend 25 seats, while Republicans have just eight to protect.