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Trump looks to refocus his presidency in address to Congress

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By JULIE PACE

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WASHINGTON (AP) — With his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump has an opportunity to refocus his young administration on the economic issues that helped him get elected. His allies hope it will help him move beyond the distractions and self-inflicted wounds that he has dealt with so far.

Trump’s advisers say he will use his prime-time speech Tuesday to declare early progress on his campaign promises, including withdrawing the U.S. from a sweeping Pacific Rim trade pact, and to map a path ahead on thorny legislative priorities, including health care, infrastructure, and military spending.

“We’re going to spend a lot more money on military,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” in an interview aired Tuesday, saying he could stand to see even $30 billion more than what’s being recommended.

“We’re going to get involved in negotiating. We’re going to be able to get, I think, a lot more product for a buck and I’m going to be very, very serious about it,” he said.

The White House said Trump has been gathering ideas for the address from the series of listening sessions he’s been holding with law enforcement officials, union representatives, coal miners and others. Aides said he was still tinkering with the speech Monday night.

Republicans, impatient to begin making headway on an ambitious legislative agenda, hope Trump arrives on Capitol Hill armed with specifics on replacing the “Obamacare” health care law and overhauling the nation’s tax system, two issues he’s so far talked about in mostly general terms. More broadly, some Republicans are anxious for the president to set aside his feuds with the media, the intelligence community and the courts, which have overshadowed the party’s policy priorities.

“Results aren’t going to come from that,” said Judd Gregg, the former Republican senator from New Hampshire. “Results are going to come from driving the policies he said he would do.”

The pressure from Republican lawmakers makes this a critical moment for a new president who ran for office on a pledge to swiftly shake up Washington and follow through on the failed promises of career politicians.

While most new presidents enjoy a honeymoon period, Trump is saddled with record low approval ratings — just 44 percent of Americans approve of his job performance, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey. His most sweeping executive order was blocked by federal courts, sending advisers scrambling to write a new travel and immigration directive, which the president is expected to sign on Wednesday.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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Associated Press writer Vivian Salama contributed to this report.