ROUNDS: Last year's accomplishments lay groundwork for more changes in 2018
Over the past year, Congress and the White House made important changes to get away from the centralized, over regulated system of government that stifled American innovation and economic growth for years. We're now laying the groundwork to make America even stronger, safer and freer in the coming year.
Last year, we were successful in undoing or stopping 1,600 burdensome federal regulations, including 15 under the Congressional Review Act. This will help businesses thrive by reducing the time and money they were forced to spend complying with costly and unnecessary regulations. We were also able to repeal Obamacare's individual mandate so Americans aren't forced to pay for expensive health insurance that they don't like, want or need.
We restored balance to the courts by confirming fair-minded judges who adhere to the Constitution as it was written. We confirmed 22 of President Trump's judicial nominees —12 of whom now sit on our country's circuit courts — in addition to confirming Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. These men and women base their decisions on the rule of law rather than their personal policy preferences or feelings, which is important in their duty to faithfully and impartially apply the law.
One of our most important accomplishments — and one that will make a positive impact on the lives of a majority of Americans — is the enactment of historic tax reform. Tax reform is already leading to bigger paychecks and is creating a healthy, more vibrant economy — one that we can be proud to pass onto our kids and grandkids. Most Americans can expect to see more money in their paychecks this month. Already, more than 3 million Americans are feeling the benefits as more than 270 major employers announced raises and other benefits to their employees. Because of tax reform, the stock market has improved. This leads to more money in folks' pensions and retirement accounts.
In his State of the Union address this year, President Trump laid out a vision for a more united country in which government is less intrusive and the American dream is possible for everyone. The progress we made over the past year provides a strong base to build on his priorities for 2018.
This year, we'll focus on strengthening our armed forces, as directed by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was signed into law last year. Giving our military a much-needed boost will allow military leaders to take necessary steps to regain the required level of readiness. A strong military is necessary to deter attacks from our enemies, and in the case of an attack on us or our allies, defeat them in combat.
We'll also focus on developing a strong workforce to fill jobs here in the United States. We'll work to equip potential employees with the skills and experience they need to thrive in this economy, whether through job training, apprenticeships or improving high school curriculum. The economic policies that Congress and the White House are working to implement will create more high-paying jobs, and we need skilled American workers to fill them.
While we have much progress to be proud of, we also have much work to do, and it will take hard work from both parties in both chambers and the White House to accomplish our goals. I look forward to continue working with the president and my colleagues as we address the most pressing issues before us. With just eight years until America's 250th birthday, we must not let up on our efforts as we continue to make progress on our vision for America in which we are freer, safer and more prosperous for generations to come.