Trump signs major tax overhaul into law

 In Politics

The bill marks his first major legislative accomplishment since taking office last January.

Updated


President Donald Trump on Friday signed the landmark $1.5 trillion tax overhaul legislation in the Oval Office, forgoing a public signing ceremony for the greatest legislative accomplishment of his first year in office.

Trump, seemingly in a festive mood ahead of his Christmas trip to Florida, told the pool of White House reporters who gathered to watch him sign Friday that he had initially planned to sign the bill early next year but changed his mind after watching TV news earlier in the day.

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“I was going to wait for a formal signing some time in early January, but then I watched the news this morning and they were all saying, ‘will he keep his promise, will he sign it by Christmas?'” Trump said. “And I called downstairs, I said ‘get it ready, we have to sign it now.’ We were going to wait until January 7th or 8th and do a formal ceremony, but every one of the networks was saying ‘will he keep his promise and will he sign it for Christmas, before Christmas, and so I immediately called and said ‘let’s get it ready.'”

The president also signed a temporary government funding bill, which averts a government shutdown.

The president offered the ceremonial pens that he would have handed out to lawmakers and special guests at an official signing ceremony to the journalists in the press pool — “I in particular like the boom holders, they were so nice to me the other day, and the cameramen” — warm words for a group he has often blamed for what he believes is unfair coverage of his administration and at whom he has regularly lobbed insults.

“Many of you have worked very hard. Many of you have worked very, very fairly. And we really appreciate that. So here you go, folks,” he said, pushing the box of pens to the edge of the Resolute Desk.

Trump’s signature on the tax cut legislation put the finishing touches on his first major legislative accomplishment since taking office last January. He celebrated the bill with Congressional Republicans at a pep rally of sorts on the White House’s South Lawn earlier this week and touted its merits in his roughly 20-minute exchange with reporters, highlighting that the newly signed law would repeal the estate tax, open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling and lower corporate tax rates.

Trump also celebrated the wave of corporations, including AT&T, Wells Fargo, Comcast, Boeing and others who have committed to bonuses, pay increases or other spending on employees in the wake of the tax cuts’ passage. He said he had received a call from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who Trump said told him he planned to purchase purchase and build a “tremendous paper mill or paper products plant” in North Carolina because of the tax cut legislation. The president added that he had “had many calls such as that.”

“A lot of things are going to be happening in the USA. We’re going to bring back our companies. They’ve already started coming back. I think they had certain confidence in me. They figured we were going to get this done. They have already started,” he said. “Corporations are literally going wild over this, I think even beyond my expectations, so far beyond my expectations.”

Trump also highlighted the provision of the tax bill that undoes the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which he called “the most unpopular thing in Obamacare” and “very, very unfair.” He hinted that he might be gearing up for another run at repealing and replacing his predecessor’s signature healthcare legislation, telling reporters that “we’re going to come up with something that’s really going to be very good.”

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