President Trump celebrated the Senate’s middle-of-the-night passage of a sweeping tax overhaul by calling it the “the largest tax decrease in the history of our country by far” and predicting Democrats could be harmed in future elections for not backing it.
The president said he was called at about 3 a.m. to tell him the Senate had passed the bill.
“It's the largest tax decrease in the history of our country by far,” Trump said during a fundraiser in New York on Saturday morning. “Not even close.”
The Senate bill passed early Saturday after last-minute changes were made to the legislation to win the support of nearly every Republican. All Democrats voted against the bill, and only one Republican, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, opposed it.
Republicans needed at least 50 votes to win approval for the bill; it ended up with 51.
“Out of 52 Republican senators, 51 voted and we ended up doing it and we didn't need our great vice president to break the tie,” Trump said Saturday.
The legislation isn’t heading to Trump’s desk, yet. It still needs to go to a conference committee where the Senate bill will be reconciled with the House version passed last month. In a tweet Saturday, Trump signaled he wanted that process to occur quickly.
“Look forward to signing a final bill before Christmas!” Trump tweeted.
During his speech Saturday, the president argued that unified opposition from Democrats to the bill could be used against them in the midterms.
“We got no Democrat help and I think that's going to cost them very big in the election,” he said. “Because, basically, they voted against tax cuts.”
Trump, the master brander, also discussed his preference for using the phrase “tax cuts” instead of “tax reform” to win over the public.
“For years, I said I wonder why they use the word reform,” Trump said. “Because nobody knows what reform means. Reform could mean your taxes are going up. And I said to my guys. I called everybody and we had a meeting. Senators, Congress, everybody. I said we have to use the word tax cuts.”
The tax overhaul would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and double the standard deduction for individuals and families, among other things.
Ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worked throughout the week to win over skeptical Republicans by making changes to the bill.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she won an agreement from leaders to add a $10,000 deduction for local property taxes, one of her key demands.
The original Senate bill wouldn't have allowed the property tax deductions.
There would also be lower taxes on companies with owners that pay individual tax rates on profits, and a more gradual elimination of tax breaks for firms buying equipment.
To pay for these changes, the new plan doesn't fully repeal the alternative minimum tax on high-income families. And it would increase a one-time tax on profits held overseas by U.S.-based corporations.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., initially was the first Republican senator to oppose the tax reform package -- but Friday, Johnson’s spokesman told Fox News he flipped to a “yes” vote. Johnson’s support came after negotiating an improved treatment for pass-through entities, which account for about 95 percent of U.S. businesses.
Fox News' Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.