Trump examines 100 days while looking toward spending deal, tax reform

The flurry of White House activity continues this week as the symbolic milestone nears

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order during a roundtable discussion with farmers at the White House in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As his symbolic 100-day milestone approaches on Saturday for President Donald Trump, the White House and critics are taking stock of his progress to date. While 100 days represents less than 2 percent of a president’s first term, the mark was set by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 when he swore his entire cabinet in at once, passed 76 bills and launched his New Deal in his first 100 days in office. It has been a milestone for every president since.While critics point to legal battles over immigration, the failed first attempt at health care reform, and his controversial comments, supporters point to Trump’s Contract with the American Voter, released in October, that outlined his 100-day plan.They say the 28 bills he’s signed into law, his cabinet picks, his work to seat Judge Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, his growing list of 25 executive orders, and missile strikes against Syria and ISIS are all in line with his campaign trail pledges. Many of those pledges were aimed at starting to unravel eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. “They didn’t pass the one big one in health care, but he has gotten a lot of things done that people aren’t aware of,” said former Speaker of the House and early Trump supporter Newt Gingrich in a televised interview Monday. “I think he’s probably got a year, year and a half learning curve involved because it’s such a big, complicated job, but overall, he’s done very well.”Trump is expected to continue the flurry of activity that has become a hallmark of the new White House culture. His final cabinet member, Alexander Acosta, is expected to be confirmed Friday to serve as labor secretary. Also, in addition to the order signed Tuesday that promotes agriculture and rural communities, three more executive orders are expected by week’s end, along with a proposed tax reform proposal. The orders are reported to ease regulations on offshore energy, protect whistleblowers at Veterans Affairs, and re-examine the process of designating land as national “monuments.” Trump has promised that his tax proposal, expected out later this week, will be “massive” and represent relief for middle class Americans. The proposal will be just that though, while the president negotiates with Congress for a final tax reform deal expected in late June. However, the next battle looming for Trump is a government spending measure and his proposed border wall with Mexico, a centerpiece of his campaign. On Tuesday evening Trump backed off pressuring Democrats to include funds for his promised border wall with Mexico in spending legislation as lawmakers worked to avoid a possible shutdown of the federal government. Instead he said he will work to include a down payment on the wall in a spending blueprint for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. His comment eased tension as lawmakers work on a spending measure covering April 29 to Sept. 30. It must in be in place before Saturday or government funds will halt and some federal employees could be temporarily laid off. However, short-term funding measures — known as continuing resolutions — have been used to avert government shutdowns in the past.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor Tuesday that bipartisan talks were continuing on the spending bill.”I look forward to more productive conversation with senators, our House colleagues, and the White House so that we can get this important work done quite soon,” McConnell said.”It’s really good news that the president seems to be taking the wall off the table in the negotiations we’re having on an appropriations bill this week,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).Although the White House said on Monday that another vote to repeal and replace Obama’s signature health care law could not come for weeks, Trump has offered to include $7 billion in Obamacare subsidies that allow low-income people to pay for health care insurance in exchange for Democratic backing of $1.5 billion in funding to begin construction of a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border. “The president has made very clear that he’s got two priorities in this continuing resolution: No. 1, the increase in funding for the military; and No. 2, for our homeland security and the wall,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters this week. Trump is expected to spend his 100th day in office Saturday attending a agriculture rally in Pennsylvania and at the National Rifle Association annual meeting in Atlanta.