Source: The Hill
President Trump’s first year in office had its stumbles, but it also had a number of successes that had the White House and congressional Republicans crowing at the end of the year. While Trump has seen his approval ratings fall, he’s also gone a long way toward meeting a number of his campaign promises, including a pledge to reduce taxes. ADVERTISEMENT The tax-cut bill approved by Congress days before Christmas was sweeping in scope and a major victory for a White House that hopes to build on it in Trump’s second year in office. Here’s a look at Trump’s biggest accomplishments of the year. 1. The tax-cut bill Trump capped off 2017 with his first major legislative victory — the passage of the Republicans’ tax-cut bill, which slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and reduces individual rates as well as implements some key breaks. It’s the biggest tax legislation to be approved by Congress since 1986, and would be significant if that’s all it did. The fact that it also eliminated ObamaCare’s mandate that individuals buy insurance and opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling — something several GOP administrations had tried but failed to do — makes it truly historic. 2. Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court Trump’s biggest early victory came when the Senate, in April, confirmed Neil Gorsuch to succeed the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch’s appointment marked the end of a bitter struggle between Democrats and Republicans over the vacant seat. It was also a victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who for nearly a year blocked former President Obama’s pick to replace Scalia from getting even a hearing to sit on the court. The move also came as Trump aims to reshape the federal judiciary with a host of other conservative nominations. The Senate confirmed 12 of Trump’s federal appeals court judges in 2017, a record for a president’s first year in office. 3. Roll-back of regulations Trump signed an executive order cutting regulations for small businesses and moved forward with plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, one of Obama’s signature acts as president. Trump has also overseen moves to expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Gulf of Mexico and granted a permit to the Keystone XL pipeline previously rejected by Obama. Trump vowed to reduce regulations he argued were strangling the economy, and he’s taken important strides to do so in the wake of opposition from congressional Democrats, who argue the president’s actions on climate are hurting America’s standing in the world. Local governments led by Democrats have acted to reverse Trump’s efforts on the Paris climate accords. 4. The travel ban Trump ran on a platform of tougher immigration enforcement, both to protect American jobs and national security. A week into his presidency, he took one of his most controversial steps, banning most travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States. The move triggered protests across the country and court fights, but, by the end of the year, a version of Trump’s ban was left standing. Trump also has taken steps to increase border security and has seen a drop in arrests on the border, a possible sign of reduced entries. He stepped up raids on immigrants in the country illegally and oversaw a surge in arrests across the country. The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the agency plans to take an even more aggressive approach next year. Trump hasn’t been able to make progress on building a wall on the Mexican border, however. 5. Declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel In a radical departure from decades of foreign policy, Trump announced that the U.S. would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin the process of moving its embassy to the contested holy city. The move signified one of Trump’s boldest statements to the international community, and, specifically, the United Nations, which he has frequently criticized. 6. Withdrawal from Paris climate deal Trump followed through on one of his major campaign promises when he announced in June that the U.S. would leave the Paris climate deal reached under Obama. While there have since been conflicting reports on the administration’s current stance on the agreement, the move fulfilled Trump’s pledge to tackle one of Obama’s signature achievements and take a tougher stance against the international community. 7. Pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trump began his presidency by carrying out another key promise, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal with Asia he had called a “potential disaster for our country.” He has said his administration will secure new trade deals with America’s Asian allies, though firm details have yet to emerge. Meanwhile, the administration is at work trying to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. A new round of negotiations are slated to be held in January, and it’s possible Trump could decide to pull the U.S. from that deal as well. 8. Roll-back of some of Obama’s Cuba policies Trump followed up on his pledge to roll back Obama’s opening up of relations with Cuba, tightening travel and commercial ties with the communist island. He also placed new financial restrictions on Havana, amid concerns over a series of bizarre “sonic attacks” targeting U.S. diplomats in the country. While the moves were seen as a clear crackdown by Trump on rapprochement with Cuba, much of Obama’s policies toward Havana essentially remain intact. 9. Moving to repeal Obama’s net neutrality rules In another blow to regulations enacted under Obama, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal its landmark net neutrality rules this month. The move drew ire from Democrats, consumer groups and tech companies, but was seen as a major win for advocates of less government oversight. 10. Fighting — and further degrading — ISIS Largely following Obama’s strategy, Trump dealt major blows to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, forcing the terrorist group to retreat from its two self-declared capitals: Mosul and Raqqa, located in Iraq and Syria, respectively. Trump also expanded the military’s authority to carry out air strikes in the Middle East, a factor some experts credit for his administration’s progress against terrorism in the region.