President Trump Delays Departure, Signs Tax Bill

President Donald Trump signs Tax Bill in the Oval Office, White House

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Washington, DC – President Donald Trump hailed sweeping tax reforms after signing the bill into law this morning (Dec. 22). Signing the bill, his first major legislative achievement – the biggest rewrite of the US tax code in a generation, Trump called the tax package the “biggest tax cuts and reform in our country,” adding, “I’m very honored by it.”

On the timing of the signature, Trump told journalists, “I didn’t want you folks to say I wasn’t keeping my promise … we did a rush job today and it wasn’t fancy … we expected a formal ceremony in two weeks.” Trump said he wanted to sign the tax cut bill quickly because “every one of the networks said, ‘Will he keep his promise?'” and do so by Christmas. It may be noted that the president delayed his scheduled departure for an 11-day holiday vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida, from 10 am to 11 am to sign the bill into law.

Calling it, “a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs,” President Trump said, “Corporations are literally going wild.” The bill slashes taxes for corporations, bringing the US corporate tax rate down to 21% from the current 35% and the wealthy, while offering mixed, temporary relief to working people.

Trump said New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft called, and informed him that because of the tax bill he’s building “a tremendous paper mill.”

Regarding repeal of the individual mandate, Trump said “I think Obamacare is over” and that “we have essentially repealed Obamacare.”

In a happy festive post-signature mood, Trump gave signing pens to reporters, saying: “Many of you have worked very hard, many of you have worked very, very fairly and we really appreciate that.” “I particularly like the boomholders …and the cameramen,” he said.

A comical scene occurred as the White House press staff repeatedly asked reporters to leave as the doors of the Oval Office opened with the Marine One hovering outside while Trump continued to take questions, frustrating their efforts. He expressed hope that Democrats would work for infrastructure legislation, in a bipartisan way.

Earlier Celebrations

President Trump hosted the Republican leaders at the White House, saying, “This will indeed be a very big day when people look back at our country.”

Senate, House leaders, Trump, Pence in Oval Office
(L-R) US Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell; Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan; President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office

Trump thanked congressional leaders for pushing through what he called “the largest tax cut in the history of our country”.

Because of a procedural glitch, the bill had to be voted on for a second time in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. It passed by 224 votes to 201 on Wednesday afternoon. Democrats blamed the error on Republicans rushing the most sweeping overhaul of the tax system since 1986 through Congress.

No Christmas Government Shutdown

With a Christmas government shutdown looming, the president also signed a four-week government funding bill into law. With just more than 12 hours to spare, the signing of the bill also made it possible to include temporary extensions to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers, care for veterans, and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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