Tuesday 19 September 2017

Trump's son-in-law to head White House business ideas office

Jared Kushner, pictured with wife Ivanka Trump, is heading a new White House office to bring business ideas to the government (AP)
Jared Kushner, pictured with wife Ivanka Trump, is heading a new White House office to bring business ideas to the government (AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

US president Donald Trump is to announce a new White House office run by his son-in-law which aims to overhaul government functions using ideas from the business sector.

Plans for the White House Office of American Innovation were first reported by The Washington Post.

It will be led by Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to Mr Trump who is married to his daughter Ivanka, and will report directly to the president.

Mr Trump is preparing to announce the new office at a low point in his young administration, days after the Republican bill to repeal and replace the "Obamacare" health law imploded in the House of Representatives.

Among those working on the effort are National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, Dina Powell, senior counsellor to the president for economic initiatives and deputy national security adviser, Chris Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives, and Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intra-governmental and technology initiatives.

All have extensive business experience.

The effort has been developing since shortly after Mr Trump's inauguration, a white house official said.

The group has started talking to CEOs from different sectors about ways to make changes to government programmes.

Areas they hope to tackle include overhauling Veterans' Affairs, improving workforce development and targeting opioid addiction.

Ivanka Trump, who has a West Wing office but no official job, will be involved on issues she is focused on, such as workforce development.

Meanwhile a survey says US economic growth is expected to accelerate this year and the next, but remain modest, even if Mr Trump's promised tax cuts and infrastructure spending are implemented.

The survey by the National Association for Business Economics predicts the economy will grow a solid 2.3pc this year and 2.5pc in 2018.

But those rates are below the 3-4 pc growth that Mr Trump has promised to bring about through steep corporate and individual tax cuts and more spending on roads, airports and tunnels.

Most of the economists surveyed assume that a tax reform package will be approved by the US Congress this year.

About two-fifths expect an infrastructure spending proposal to pass this year, while the rest forecast it will happen in 2018 or beyond.

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