Apart from shutting down the government, a goal the Russian asset in the White House has publicly expressed on a regular basis since May 2017, not much of Donald Trump’s policy agenda has been enacted legislatively—nor is it likely to be as long as his No. 1 obsession, the wall, doesn’t get built.
What he’s pushed for and not achieved includes: his new NAFTA deal (Congress hasn’t taken it up); his new tariff powers; dozens of his judicial nominees; and infrastructure (every week is infrastructure week!).
The new NAFTA trade deal, the one Trump says will make Mexico pay for the wall, still hasn’t been presented to Congress, which has to pass it to, you know, make Mexico pay for the wall by sending more money into the U.S. economy. That’s an empty promise that continues to be moot as long as the administration refuses to send the agreement to Congress to approve. His “Reciprocal Trade Act,” or new presidential powers to impose tariffs, isn’t likely to go anywhere as the new Democratic House isn’t likely to give more power to Trump to do anything.
He is going to get his judicial nominees, because that’s the one goal he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell share 100 percent. A rules change is in the works in the Senate to make that happen. That infrastructure bill, the one thing that might actually get some bipartisan support and could potentially really happen, has not materialized. Despite having talked about it since the campaign, Trump’s team has yet to present any kind of proposal.
That’s not to say the administration hasn’t been effective at dismantling everything good. Using the regulatory and executive powers that Republicans screamed about President Obama deploying, Trump has done a lot to sabotage government, particularly in his attacks on the Affordable Care Act. But in terms of anything happening legislatively, that’s all being held hostage to the border wall, too.