WASHINGTON – The approval by Congress of the ambitious tax reform package gives President Donald Trump the biggest legislative triumph of his presidency so far and appears to have reconciled him with the bulk of the Republican Party.
The reform, the biggest since 1986 and of significant economic import, also represents an important milestone in the complex network of relationships in Washington.
In fact, the move has managed to align Republican congressional leaders with Trump after an election campaign riven with mix-ups and misunderstandings between the loquacious magnate and conservative heavyweights, along with contortions by the latter to distance themselves from the New York billionaire.
“I would like to congratulate @SenateMajLdr (Mitch McConnell) on having done a fantastic job both strategically & politically on the passing in the Senate of the MASSIVE TAX CUT & Reform Bill,” said Trump on his Twitter account a day after the tax plan was approved by Congress.
“I could have not asked for a better or more talented partner. Our team will go onto many more VICTORIES!” he added.
Just a few months ago, that message would have been unthinkable after the visible tensions between the two men due to the mogul’s unorthodox, unprecedented and impetuous style.
Trump had said he was “very disappointed” with the Republican Senate leader in August over lawmakers’ failure to repeal and replace the signature healthcare legislation of his Oval Office predecessor, Barack Obama.
McConnell diplomatically kept his distance from Trump during the first months of his presidency but on Wednesday he also rose to the occasion and congratulated the president for “an extraordinary accomplishment.”
The praises from GOP lawmakers for Trump have been coming in from unexpected quarters, with veteran Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch saying that Trump is “one of the best presidents” he has served under, adding that “the reasoning is, he’s not afraid to make decisions. He’s not afraid to take on the – the big mouths around here.”
Hatch had supported former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and later Sen. Marco Rubio in the GOP primaries, although ultimately – when there was no other choice – he came down on Trump’s side after he had secured the party’s presidential nomination.
The tax reform 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, which already exceeds $20 trillion.