Washington – In a Rose Garden ceremony surrounded by Republican lawmakers and administration officials, President Donald Trump hailed on Wednesday the passage by both houses of Congress of the GOP tax reform bill, calling it the “largest tax cut in the history of our country,” the first major tax overhaul since 1986.
Surrounded by jubilant Republican lawmakers and administration officials, the president said that an average four-person family earning $75,000 per year will receive a tax cut of about $2,000 as a result of the plan.
He thanked – virtually one by one – the key lawmakers who had made possible the approval of the bill, including the heads of both chambers of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, along with Sen. Susan Collins, whose vote had been difficult for Trump to secure given that she is one of the most moderate Republicans in the upper house.
“Paul Ryan and Mitch, it was a little team,” Trump said. “We just got together and we worked very hard, didn’t we?”
When the top two GOP lawmakers then spoke, it was to praise the president for his contribution to the plan’s approval.
“Mr. President, thank you for getting us over the finish line,” Ryan said. “Thank you for getting us where we are? This has been a team effort from everybody.”
McConnell, in turn, said that “This has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration,” going on to list some of Trump’s judicial appointments.
Vice President Mike Pence also applauded the achievement of the mogul, saying that he was certain that the tax reform bill will help to make American great again, paraphrasing Trump’s campaign slogan.
Earlier on Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Republican tax reform bill, giving Trump his first big legislative victory on Capitol Hill.
The move comes after a procedural error on Tuesday forced House lawmakers to amend the bill at the last minute before it was then sent to the Senate, where it was approved in a 51-48 vote along party lines.
The House on Wednesday voted again on the bill, passing it in a 224-201 vote, the yes votes being all Republicans and the no votes being all Democrats but including 12 GOP lawmakers.
Early on Tuesday, the House had approved the text of the bill that had been agreed to during negotiations among Republicans of both chambers, but procedural errors were detected in the measure and so these had to be corrected – requiring another vote – before it could be sent to the Senate.
Ryan, after the vote, touted the passage of the bill as something that occurs only once in a “generation,” calling it the final step in a long journey toward providing tax relief for Americans.
The Wisconsin Republican – who has fought his whole legislative career for a tax reduction of this kind – said that the bill would now be sent to Trump’s desk so that the country can start 2018 with a new tax code.
The bill’s basic text cuts taxes on high income earners and companies, reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent while creating seven tax brackets for individuals.
In addition, however, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office, the reform pushed by Republicans will add $1.45 trillion to the US national debt.
Meanwhile, in a brief statement after passage of the bill, Trump praised its passage, saying that it was “historic” and an “incredible Christmas gift for hardworking Americans,” and adding that the “biggest factor” in the plan is the fact that it is designed to motivate US businesses that have set up operations abroad to move back to the US, thus causing jobs to “start pouring into the country.”
Trump has called the plan “rocket fuel” for the economy and claimed that it will provide a significant tax cut for middle class Americans.
After the bill was passed, he also congratulated the lawmakers who supported the measure, pointing to the fact that US unemployment continues to fall and the stock market is currently at record levels, and he promised that salaries will begin to rise very soon.
The president also crowed about repealing a key element of former President Barack Obama’s health care reform – the individual health care mandate – which was inserted into the tax reform bill, claiming that “We have essentially repealed Obamacare,” although earlier Republican attempts to repeal and replace the Democratic former president’s signature piece of legislation foundered time and again in Congress earlier in 2017.
Meanwhile, Democrats have called the measure a “disgrace,” saying that it will “mess up” the country and have warning Republicans that they will “regret” what they have pushed through Congress without securing bipartisan support on Wednesday.