When Republicans in Congress cast their finals votes for a sweeping tax reform bill, it's expected to have significant changes on the job market and individual incomes. If and when it becomes law, the bill would also give President Donald Trump a first signature piece of legislation passed during his presidency. Despite just one major law on the verge of passage, though, Donald Trump's list of accomplishments for 2017 isn't as short as one might expect.
Despite multiple to failed efforts to help facilitate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), President Trump has had success implementing major features of the agenda he laid out during his campaign. Here are the five most important things he has accomplished so far.
During his presidential campaign, Trump regularly boasted of a "secret plan" to defeat ISIS. While determining whether a force as scattered as ISIS is completely "destroyed" or not is complicated, one things for sure: under Trump, the U.S. military has overseen a major victory against the terrorist organization.
Earlier in December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS after the fall of ISIS' caliphate. That victory was accomplished by Iraqi military forces as well as an American-led coalition, according to The New York Times. The caliphate is essentially the center or power ISIS established after taking control over major parts of Iraq years ago. Knocking it out is no small feat. On the contrary, it's a legitimate major accomplishment.
In his first year in office, Trump has set a record for the amount of judges he has appointed to federal appeals courts nationwide. Despite being one of the more under-the-radar features of Trump's presidency, it still represents an important accomplishment because the president's choice of judges goes a long way towards shaping how the law is interpreted in major cases that affect issues like abortion or a travel ban.
Supreme Court Judge
Another issue that helped Trump win the campaign turned out to be one of his very first accomplishments, nominated a conservative Supreme Court judge — Neil Gorsuch — to replace Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. Nominating Gorsuch to the lifetime tenure that Supreme Court justices enjoy means that another conservative hand will influence how cases are decided when they arrive at major votes that come down to a 5-4 split.
That Trump's choice of a conservative judge was a major win for Republicans in general, who ran the risk of seeing a liberal judge appointed had Hillary Clinton won the presidential election.
With tax reform all but signed into law, Trump has a major piece of legislation to his name for the year. The tax reform bill is perhaps the most important accomplishment yet, particularly because it is related to one of the biggest campaign issues Trump ran on: jobs.
Whether the bill stimulated long term growth in the economy will ultimately go a long way towards shaping Trump's legacy long after he's done.
Obamacare's Individual Mandate Repeal
Passing tax reform presents a two-for-one deal for Republicans in Washington D.C. Not only will the GOP be able to pass a law that aims at stimulating job growth by, in part, lowering the tax rate for job creators, it also allows the party to continue chipping away at Obamacare, without actually accomplishing a full repeal.
That's because the tax bill includes a repeal of the Obamacare's individual mandate, which means Americans will no longer have to pay a penalty for not signing up for health insurance. Mandating people who otherwise wouldn't sign health care to — you know — actually sign up for health care is central to how Obamacare works. Taking it away makes progress towards a big item on Trump's agenda: taking the Affordable Care Act away, period.
Past Trump's most recent progress in Congress, there have been other political wins he's experienced this year. The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of allowing his travel ban to take effect, despite ongoing legal challenges against it. The president has also boasted about his efforts to cut regulations, which led to a funny moment after a major press conference.
Still, the progress against ISIS, an imminent Republican tax bill, and his influence in shaping the judicial branch are what really reflect what he's accomplished in 2017.