Makes a Nod Toward Political Reconciliation in State of the Union Speech
SOTU. Trump, whose first year in office has seen near-constant turmoil and division, claimed Tuesday that he has ushered in an ebullient “new American moment” and issued a summons for “the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.” The conciliatory tone of Trump’s first State of the Union address was sharply at odds with the combative manner in which he has conducted his presidency—and with the tension evident between Republicans and Democrats in the Capitol, where he spoke.
“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people,” Trump said.
Trump recited what he described as his greatest accomplishments and laid out an improbable agenda for a Congress facing midterm elections in the fall. He said he would bring Republicans and Democrats together around a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan to “give us the safe, fast, reliable and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.”
And he dared Democrats to reject what he called a “down-the-middle compromise” on immigration where “nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.”
Healthcare disruption. Amazon.com Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. shook up the healthcare business with a plan to form a company to reduce their workers’ health costs, spurring alarm over potential competitive pressure.
The companies said the venture would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints” and would develop technological solutions to provide simplified, high-quality healthcare for their hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers, but they offered few other details.
“The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” Berkshire Chairman and Chief Executive Warren Buffett said in a statement. The companies, he said, believe “putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”
Food Cutoff. More than four months after Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is halting new shipments of food and water to the island, an agency official with direct knowledge of the plan told CNN Tuesday. The island government appeared blindsided by the decision, saying it was still in talks with FEMA on a timetable for assuming control of food and water distribution. FEMA has called the island’s emergency operation the longest sustained distribution of food, fuel and water in agency history, including more than $1.6 billion worth of food and more than $361 million worth of water. New shipments of food and water will officially stop Wednesday.