President-elect Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress have long lists of promises; some conflict. John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities, lists Congress's likely top missions in this report. Highlights:
• Pass the late 2017-18 budget and a 2018-19 budget, including "a slight boost to defense spending"
• "Repeal the Affordable Care Act," phasing it out over three years, so Republicans could delay any replacement plan until they (hope to) beat vulnerable Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2018.
• Tax reform will look more like House Speaker Paul Ryan's plan than Donald Trump's campaign promises: Cut top corporate rates to 20% of profits (from 35%); cut taxes on foreign profits sent back to the U.S. below 10%.
But plans to cut taxes on rich people will more likely "be scrapped," or at least delayed, as Republicans feel pressure to balance the budget.
• Trade: Trump doesn't need Congress to impose five-month, 15% tariffs, or to give Canada and Mexico six months' notice before pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He needs to show China meets Congressional standards before labeling that giant rival a "currency manipulator" and tightening trade rules.
Anti-trade moves are likely to "increase consumer and producer prices" which could slow the economy -- unless Trump really does grow the economy a lot faster than it has expanded under Obama.
• Infrastructure: Trump's promises to spend more than half a trillion dollars on roads and other public projects "remain in question." Congress shows "little desire for another increase in infrastructure spending" after last year's highway bill, though road projects might still be handed to Democrats for support on tax cuts.
• Immigration: Trump could block Obama's rule letting immigrants who arrived as children apply for labor permits. But he'd need Congress to build his famous Mexico border wall or cut immigration visas, and Trump's proposals face 'stiff resistance" in both parties.
Restricting immigraiton is likely to create "labor shortages," with "the greatest risks" to farm, mine, construction, hotel and engineering jobs Americans alone aren't filling, Silvia adds.
• Regulations: The Republican Congress could ease, but is unlikely to end, the Dodd-Frank bank-lending limits. It will also likely weaken oil and gas development limits, and environmental and labor protection rules.
It took Ronald Reagan and a Democratic Congress five years to pass tax reforms, Silvia notes. With the GOP in control all around, can Trump move a lot faster? "Political capital, like its financial cousin, is a finite resource."