The President will sign his tax reform package sometime this morning to cap off what has been a bizarre and entertaining year in politics. There had been talk that the signing wouldn’t take place until January, but given that this bill was passed so close to the end of the year, every single day counts when it comes to allowing agencies and businesses time to adjust numbers for the upcoming year.
ABC News just confirmed the signing, which takes place in about 30 minutes, via twitter:
— ABC News (@ABC) December 22, 2017
Report from CNN:
President Donald Trump will likely sign the $1.5 trillion tax bill into law Friday, White House officials predict, shortly before he departs Washington for his holiday vacation in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The bill passed the House 224-201 for a second time Wednesday after a procedural hiccup, with no Democrats backing it and a dozen House GOP members voting no.
Trump and congressional Republicans celebrated their win at the White House Wednesday, but the bill was not yet “enrolled” and ready for the President’s signature.
The plan, which critics say benefits the wealthy more than the middle class, lowers the corporate tax rate down from 35% to 21%, nearly doubles the standard deduction for individuals, repeals the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act and restructures the way pass-through businesses are taxed.
The President wasted no time this morning, the last real business day before Christmas break, to tout some of the immediate effects of the bill, as Business Insider reports:
President Donald Trump on Friday celebrated the passage of his tax plan and its reception in corporate America as a “new source of ‘love.'”
“Our big and very popular Tax Cut and Reform Bill has taken on an unexpected new source of ‘love’ – that is big companies and corporations showering their workers with bonuses. This is a phenomenon that nobody even thought of, and now it is the rage. Merry Christmas!” Trump tweeted.
Though the tax bill was not universally popular leading up to its passage, a cascade of corporations publicly announced bonuses for their employees after it passed through Congress.
AT&T, Boeing, Fifth Third Bancorp, Wells Fargo, and Comcast all announced bonuses following the bill’s passage.
The passage of the tax bill marks the first major legislative victory for Trump, whose agenda has otherwise stalled.
Legislatively, this is certainly the largest agenda item that Congress managed to put on the President’s desk. There was a lot riding on this bill, in terms of promises made by the President, and something positive for Republicans to campaign on in 2018.
Democrats, on the other hand, saw this bill as an opportunity to differentiate their views in 2018, as CNN reports:
At-risk Democrats likely felt less political pressure because the legislation has polled poorly and the President’s approval rating remains low. But Democrats from red states will still need to win over a share of Republican voters next year, many of whom view tax reform and the President favorably.
“There’s no doubt Democrats have the wind at their back, but that doesn’t mean that these red state Democrats are going to get a free pass on their votes,” said Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. “The more these guys act and vote like national Democrats, the more they are putting their campaigns at risk in 2018.”
Lauren Passalacqua, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Democrats “were eager to work on bipartisan reform” with their Republican counterparts, “but at the end of the day, Republicans simply weren’t interested, and that’s because this was never about the middle class — it was about massive tax cuts for corporations and billionaires.”
The party out of power is always looking for ways to point out failures of the current administration. Republicans in 2010 and 2014 ran against President Obama’s economic policies and the ongoing health care changes caused by the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats in 2018 will be using the tax reform plan to argue that the President did not do much to benefit employees on the low end of the pay scale, but rather signed on to help multi-billion dollar corporations keep more money. The determining factor will be whether the benefits from the tax plan trickle down throughout the economy in the next eleven months.