State of the Union Address Features Calls to Actions that Impact Grocers

February 6, 2019

President Trump delivered his second State of the Union address last night, a speech that featured both divisive rhetoric and calls for bipartisan action and unity. In discussing his economic record and agenda, the President highlighted several areas of interest to the independent supermarket industry. The President started by boasting his economic policy successes noting that under his Administration, five million Americans have been lifted off SNAP benefits into good paying jobs. He praised the success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, noting it “virtually ended the estate, or death tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.”

He called on Congress to act to pass a wide spectrum of policy priorities – everywhere from hardline immigration policies to healthcare reforms typically espoused by Democrats. Under the major theme of protecting American workers, he doubled down on Chinese tariffs, but said the Administration is “working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.” Trump also called on Congress to pass the new trade deal with Trump called on Congress to pass the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, the US Mexico-Canada Agreement, and the Reciprocal Trade Act, which gives the executive branch more power to impose tariffs without Congressional approval.

Without offering any real details, he called on Congress to pass an infrastructure bill, an area of potential bipartisan compromise. The President asked Congress to lower the cost of prescription drug prices, saying it’s “unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs.” He also called for price transparency in drug pricing, a veiled jab at pharmacy benefit managers responsible for practices such as retroactive DIR fees. Trump also indicated there would be a plan in his 2019 budget plan for nationwide paid family leave.

While the speech highlighted potential areas of bipartisan compromise, the President also tempered expectations by cautioning Democrats against investigating his Administration, noting that “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”