President Trump on Friday signed his first major legislative triumph – a $1.5 trillion tax overhaul expected to trigger tax cuts for most Americans next year – as well as a temporary spending bill that keeps the government running through mid-January.
Trump signed the bills before heading to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., for the winter holidays.
As he did, the president told reporters he was initially going to wait until after the new year but changed his mind because he wanted to prove he was keeping his promise to America to get a tax bill signed before Dec. 25.
"I didn't want you folks to say I wasn't keeping my promise" to sign the bill by Christmas, he said. "Every one of the networks was saying 'Will he keep his promise? Will he sign it by Christmas?'"
So Trump said he told his staff: "Get it ready, we have to sign it now."
The president also called out Democrats who he said would “really regret” not supporting the bill.
Ahead of the morning signing, Trump also tweeted: “The President has accomplished some absolutely historic things during this past year.”
He added, “We are compiling a long & beautiful list.”
The tax bill is likely at the top of that list, after GOP lawmakers passed the most extensive rewrite of the tax code in three decades. The package would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, double the standard deduction and make a host of other changes.
After its passage, Trump basked in the praise of Republican lawmakers – some of whom he had taken to task publicly earlier this year. They put the bad blood behind them, at least for now, and congratulated him as “one heck of a leader” and a “man of action.”
“This has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
Democrats continue to slam the tax bill as a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations.
But the bill passage and signing marked a rare moment of legislative success for Trump, who has been dogged by Democrats challenging him at every turn during his first year in office. The president has also seen his popularity plummet to historic lows and is still dealing with accusations he or members of his campaign colluded with Russia during the presidential race, which he denies.
Late Thursday, the Republican-led Congress also averted a government shutdown by passing a temporary spending bill – punting thornier issues like immigration, health care and the budget itself to 2018.
The measure to keep the government running passed the House on a 231-188 vote over Democratic opposition. It cleared the Senate 66-32.
The stopgap legislation keeps the government from shutting down at midnight Friday, and funds the government through Jan. 19.
“At some point, and for the good of the country, I predict we will start working with the Democrats in a Bipartisan fashion,” Trump tweeted. “Infrastructure would be a perfect place to start. After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!”
Trump also had some words for the media, whom the president regularly complains don't treat him fairly.
“With all my Administration has done on Legislative Approvals (broke Harry Truman’s Record), Regulation Cutting, Judicial Appointments, Building Military, VA, TAX CUTS & REFORM, Record Economy/Stock Market and so much more, I am sure great credit will be given by mainstream news?” he tweeted.