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FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 14, 2016

These issues and plans are atop Donald Trump’s agenda as our next president prepares to lead

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What's reported today about the president-elect and his transition team?
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Share a post-election comment from your city or state.
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Read an opinion column, editorial or reader letter about the election. Describe the emotions or tone.

After the especially divisive campaign to succeed Barack Obama, attention now focuses on President-elect Donald Trump's agenda. The day after a victory not forecast by pre-election polls, he met at the White House with the current president (see video below) and later on Capitol Hill with two fellow Republicans – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell an House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Trump's top policy priorities involve immigration, health care and jobs, he says. He wants to lift or ease federal environmental rules that limit domestic oil and gas drilling, and hopes to encourage more coal mining as well. Trump also vows to "stand up to countries that cheat on trade" and to crack down on companies "that send jobs overseas." But he's not restating a campaign pledge to seek a repeal of the entire Affordable Care Act, a medical insurance plan nicknamed Obamacare. He also has stopped calling for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, an ambitious idea estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars.

Because the Democratic Party didn't win back control of either chamber of Congress last week, Republicans control the legislative process. That will likely end at least some of the partisan gridlock that stymied much the Obama administration's agenda. Picking top aides and Cabinet members who’ll run 15 federal departments is the next big step for Trump and a transition tea, which includes three of his adult children and his son-in-law. Key posts include White House chief of staff, defense secretary, secretary of state, attorney general and secretary of homeland security. Advisers also are reviewing prospects for a Supreme Court nomination to fill the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia's death last February. (Republicans in Congress declined to consider Obama's nominee.) In the foreign policy area, the new administration faces tricky challenges in dealing with Russia, China, fighting in Syria to unseat the president and – perhaps most critically – the continuing war against terrorist threats from ISIS and Al Qaeda in the Middle East.

Trump says: "We have a lot of priorities, a lot of really great priorities. People are gonna be very, very happy." – On Capitol Hill last Thursday

Author says: "Trump's appointments over the next six weeks will be very significant because they can show whether he wants to create some unity in the country." – Robert Dallek, retired history professor

Editorial says: "His picks for posts in his administration will be an early test of his promises to challenge the capital's insider culture." -- The New York Times

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2017
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