WASHINGTON — president Donald Trump, eyeing his first major legislative victory, made his closing argument Wednesday on a tax package that negotiators on Capitol Hill are “days away” from passing.
“As a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive tax cut for the everyday working American families who are the backbone and the heartbeat of our country,” he said. “Now, we are just days away, I hope, I hope, you know what that means, right, from keeping that promise and delivering a truly amazing victory for American families.”
He added: “We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas. And when I say giant, I mean giant.”
The speech comes hours after Trump suffered a stinging defeat in Alabama, where Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore to unexpectedly win a Senate seat in a deep-red state. The loss, which shrinks Republican control of the Senate to a one-seat margin, threatens to imperil the Trump agenda and puts emphasis on the need to pass tax reform before Jones is seated.
Trump, sitting in the White House earlier Wednesday with Republican lawmakers tasked with negotiating the final deal, said holding the tax vote quickly is important not just because of the lost Senate seat.
Republicans, Trump said, “are very close to getting it done. We are very close to voting.”
“It’s a massive tax cut for the middle class,” said Trump. “It’s about jobs.”
Trump, during his White House speech, cast the tax reform bill as a campaign promise kept and brought five families — from Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Washington — on stage to praise the tax plan.
Trump also announced that the Internal Revenue Service said that Americans will see “lower taxes” and “bigger paychecks” beginning in February if he is able to sign a tax bill before Christmas.
“It’s critically important for Congress to quickly pass these historic tax cuts,” the President said.
House and Senate negotiators struck a tentative deal on the tax bill Wednesday, a significant sign that the Republican-controlled bodies are poised to deliver an overhaul of the US tax system by the holidays.
Trump did not delve into the specifics of the tax plan during the speech, but did use the speech as an opportunity to knock those against the plan.
“The cynical voices that oppose tax cuts grow smaller and weaker and the American people grow stronger,” Trump said.
Public opinion is not in the tax bill’s favor, in part because analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation found the Republican bill would add at least $1 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years.