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Trump's upcoming joint session with Congress: U-M experts weigh in

EXPERTS ADVISORY

President Trump will speak to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday in a televised event. University of Michigan experts are available to discuss his agenda.

Aaron Kall, director of debate and editor/co-author of the new book "Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States: Addresses to a Joint Session of Congress," can discuss previous first presidential addresses to Congress while previewing Tuesday's address.

"After a much-maligned inaugural address and tumultuous first month in office, President Trump has a prime opportunity to reset his presidency on Tuesday night before an audience of tens of millions," he said. "This will be Trump's final opportunity to deliver an impactful speech that can positively influence his early legislative agenda in Congress which will soon kick into high gear."

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Joel Slemrod, professor of business economics and public policy, is director of the Office of Tax Policy Research at the Ross School of Business. In 1984-85, he was senior staff economist at the President's Council of Economic Advisers and has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Canadian Department of Finance, South African Ministry of Finance, World Bank, OECD and several corporations. He was a member of the Congressional Budget Office Panel of Economic Advisers from 1996 to 2004.

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Richard Hall, professor of public policy and political science, has done research on American national politics and studied participation and representation in Congress.

"A year ago Republicans worried out loud about Trump's commitment to the conservative agenda, but there can be no doubt about that now," he said. "In his cabinet and court appointments and policy pronouncements, he has set out an agenda that is extremely conservative by historical standards.

"He and the Republican Congress are set to prosecute that agenda quickly and aggressively with but the weakest of mandates. Trump lost the popular vote handily, he has the worst approval ratings for a honeymoon president since polling began, the Republicans lost seats in both the House and the Senate in the last election, and Congress' job approval remains below 20 percent.

"President Trump's challenge in his address to Congress will be to sell the American public on a sharp turn to the right without an electoral mandate to do so. It would likewise help his presidency were he to convey a modicum of statesmanship or equanimity in the speech, but it would be a stunning development if if he did."

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