Bill signing will take place at a later date.
Congress passed the tax reform bill today, which will now head to President Donald Trump. We do not know for sure when Trump will sign the bill, but he is holding a press conference with members of the GOP at the White House to celebrate its passage through the two chambers.
It’s scheduled to start at 3PM ET.
Trump thanks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of House Paul Ryan for their hard work along with a few others who helped it move along. A big thank you went to Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski because the bill contains language to open ANWR to drilling.
Trump still says that repealing the Obamacare individual mandate basically repeals Obamacare. It cuts off a large chunk of the funding, but Obamacare still exists unfortunately.
Not Signing the Bill?
As I noted in my previous post, Trump may wait until the new year to sign the bill. Bloomberg explained:
White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said Trump would sign the bill this year if Congress is able to pass a separate provision waiving automatic spending cuts as part of a year-end spending deal to avoid a government shut down before Friday. If not, Trump would sign the bill in early 2018, he said.
Under the so-called PAYGO law, automatic cuts to Medicare and other spending categories would be triggered by the tax bill in January because the bill is scored as increasing the deficit by $1.5 trillion over ten years. Waiting until January means that those cuts would be delayed until 2019, according to budget expert Ed Lorenzen of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan have vowed that the cuts would not be triggered. They will need Democrats to waive them this year, however, since doing so would require 60 votes in the Senate. Nearly the entire House Democratic caucus last week threatened to block a PAYGO waiver unless Republicans made concessions like restoring the Obamacare individual mandate.
At his cabinet meeting, Trump praised the bill and the congressional GOP members who voted for it. From The Wall Street Journal:
“We got it done,” he said, thanking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) by name. “We have a tremendous amount of talent” in each chamber, he said.
Mr. Trump also addressed other provisions of the tax bill: “When the individual mandate is being repealed that means Obamacare is being repealed.. we have essentially repealed Obamacare and we will come up with something much better,” he added, saying block grants might be one approach.
Vice President Mike Pence was invited to give remarks and praised the president for regulatory rollbacks and the delivery of “historic tax cuts.. in just a short period of time, that promise will be fulfilled… you’re delivering on that middle class miracle… and you got Congress to do what they couldn’t do for seven years” in repealing the ACA’s individual mandate. Mr. Pence gave shoutouts on taxes for Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn and Ivanka Trump.
After the meeting, Trump said that housing secretary Ben Carson would say a prayer and welcomed the media to stay for it:
“You need the prayer more than I do, I think,” Trump said, adding: “A good solid prayer, and maybe they’ll be honest.”
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