photo : William Moon

The tax cut legislation that Trump has repeatedly referred to as ‘a big beautiful Christmas present’ to the American people cleared through Congress, the final hurdle before arriving on the president’s desk.

President Trump and dozens of House and Senate Republicans celebrated the passage of the long-awaited GOP tax legislation yesterday afternoon at the South Lawn of the White House.

A Marine band played Christmas carols in the background as Trump took the stage. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Vice President Mike Pence, along with other House and Senate Republicans, stood beaming behind the president as he addressed cabinet members, staff, and reporters.

Trump’s Remarks at the South Lawn

President Trump hailed the final passage of the tax legislation as a “the largest tax cut in the history of our country,” in a speech peppered with praise for the Republican party and for his administration.

“This,” Trump said referring to the newly passed legislation, “is going to mean companies are going to be coming back. And I campaigned on the fact that we’re not going to lose our companies anymore. They’re going to stay in our country.”

Trump and other Republican leaders in Congress claim that the tax cut legislation, which will provide massive cuts for large businesses and wealthy individuals, will benefit the entire economy by fueling growth across the board.

Hailing the high expectations that he has for the tax plan, Trump stated that simply, what the bill is doing is “making America great again.”

“You haven’t heard that, have you?” Trump joked to applause from the crowd.

In an official White House statement by President Trump regarding the final passage of tax legislation, Trump wrote that the ‘big, beautiful tax cut’ that he had promised the American people for Christmas has been delivered and that this represented an “extraordinary victory for American families, workers, and businesses.”

“America is back to winning again, and we’re growing like never before,” Trump continued in his statement, as he described the efforts made by his administration to cut taxes and reform the broken system as “rocket fuel” in the “engine of our economy.”

Trump and Republicans Exchange Rounds of Praise

On the South Lawn yesterday, Trump called forward around a dozen different Republican members responsible for the bill to “get up and get the glamor and the glory.” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Vice President Pence, among many others, spoke for short periods of time, praising the efforts and success of both the Republican party and President Trump.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the past year as “a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan praised Trump’s “exquisite presidential leadership” and thanked him for “getting us over the finish line… for getting us where we are.”

“It is really simple,” Speaker Ryan continued. “The message to the hardworking taxpayers of America is: Your tax relief is on its way. That is what’s happening here. The message to the families in America who’ve been struggling, paycheck and paycheck,­­your tax rates are going down and your paychecks are going up.”

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders described the legislation as “a tax plan that we hope benefits all Americans,” in a press briefing on Dec 19. But priority number one, according to Press Secretary Sanders, is middle-class Americans.”

Senator Sanders’ Opposition to the Tax Legislation

However, though Republicans seem overjoyed at the passing of the bill, and have claimed that the legislation means tax cuts and a simpler tax code for everyday Americans, Democrats have largely criticized the tax legislation as nothing but a badly disguised one-sided windfall for the rich and prosperous.

Bernie Sanders has been one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation. In a speech on the Senate floor yesterday, Senator Sanders delivered a scathing address that attacked the main benefactors of the Republican tax plan.

“I guess if you’re a billionaire like President Trump or a wealthy campaign contributor, you do have a whole lot to celebrate [today],” Sanders said. “And maybe if you’re one of the six thousand lobbyists here in Washington D.C. who helped write the bill, I guess they’re celebrating a lot today. But if you are one of the vast majority of the American people who are in the middle class, you should not be celebrating today and in fact, you should be pretty nervous.”

“At a time when the wealthy are becoming much richer,” continued Sanders, “tens of millions of American families are struggling to keep their heads above water economically. Forty million Americans are living in poverty. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (TPC) tells us that in terms of this legislation, eighty-three percent of the tax benefits will go to the top one percent by the end of the decade.”

“Sixty percent of the benefits will go to the top one-tenth of one percent. Meanwhile, at the end of ten years, some 92 million middle-class households will be paying more in taxes. And then on top of all of that, as the only nation, major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people, this bill will result in 13 million Americans losing their health insurance.”

Reviewing the details of the plan, Sanders demanded, “How unspeakable and outrageous is this plan?”

Continuing Sanders asked, “How much does it go against what the American people want? Giving huge tax breaks to billionaires, to the Trump family, to the Koch brothers, and then paying for those tax breaks by cutting social security, Medicare, and Medicaid?”

The White House has said that the formal signing of the bill will take place in the following days.

Yeji is covering the White House.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *