- The Washington Times - Friday, December 22, 2017

President Trump signed a hard-won $1.5 trillion tax-cut bill into law Friday, also signing a temporary funding bill to keep the government open and a $4 billion missile defense bill.

Mr. Trump signed the measures at the White House shortly before departing for Florida for the Christmas holiday.

The most sweeping tax overhaul in decades cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, and lowers individual tax rates.

Mr. Trump called it “a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs.”

“Corporations are literally going wild,” he said.

The president said he had planned to wait until about Jan. 7 to sign the tax-cut bill in a big public ceremony. But he said TV networks were focused Friday morning on whether he’d keep his promise to sign it before Christmas.

“I called downstairs and said ‘get it ready, we have to sign it now,’” Mr. Trump told reporters. “Every one of the networks was saying ‘will he keep his promise and sign it before Christmas?’”

The signing of Mr. Trump’s economic centerpiece came without a public ceremony at the White House, with a handful of reporters and White House officials witnessing the event in the Oval Office.

It capped the president’s biggest legislative victory of his first year in office, a win that came on the strength of Republican majorities in the House and the Senate.

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said the tax cuts will enable manufacturers to hire more workers and raise wages.

“President Trump and Congress have delivered on their promise to pass tax reform that will empower manufacturers to create jobs, improve the quality of life and build more in America. Now manufacturers will deliver,” Mr. Timmons said. “We’ve been given license to compete more fiercely in the global economy, and we are going to ensure that we lift up more working families.”

The president noted that tax-cut measure contains other significant features, including a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate and provision to allow oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“I think Obamacare is over,” Mr. Trump said. “We have essentially repealed Obamacare.”

Referring to the missile-defense portion of the spending bill, the president he was authorizing immediately $4 billion worth of emergency funding for missile defense equipment and “the missiles themselves.”

“Our military’s been doing a fantastic job in so many ways, with ISIS — and everything they’re touching lately has been working out,” Mr. Trump said.

When lawmakers return to Washington in early January, they will need to come up with another spending measure by Jan. 19 to fund the government beyond that date. Democrats are clamoring for a fix also to the deferred-deportation program for young illegal immigrants to be addressed next month.

Mr. Trump called the tax-cut legislation “the capper” of all his efforts with congressional Republicans in 2017, and he chided Democrats for not supporting it.

“Democrats don’t like tax cuts,” he said. “They want to raise your taxes and they want to spend your money foolishly on things we don’t need in many cases.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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