U.S. President Donald Trump is basking in his first major legislative victory, passage of a $1.5 trillion tax cut that he said "will soon be kicking in" to give American workers bigger paychecks and cut corporate tax bills.
In a Twitter comment Thursday, Trump said opposition Democrats, who uniformly voted against the legislation, "want to raise taxes" and "hate these big cuts."
Two telecommunications firms, AT&T and Comcast, said they would pay a $1,000 bonus to most of their workers, about 300,000 people combined, when Trump signs the legislation. Two banks, Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp, said they would raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour for their lowest paid workers, boosting their salaries to $31,200 a year.
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing said it would move ahead with $300 million in investments in the company because of the new tax law.
Trump hosted a rally at the White House Wednesday to celebrate passage of the legislation, the biggest overhaul of the country's complex tax laws in three decades. It cuts the corporate tax rate, now among the highest in the industrialized world, from 35 to 21 percent. It trims rates for millions of individual taxpayers as well, with the biggest cuts mostly benefiting the wealthiest earners, although some taxpayers will see bigger tax bills because of various changes in the tax regulations.
Democrats protested the legislation, contending the tax cuts will not boost the U.S. economy, already the world's biggest, and will mostly help rich taxpayers and corporations at the expense of the working class.
After losing the tax fight, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, said "Republican-controlled Washington has been an all-you-can-eat buffet for the privileged and the powerful, and the special interests."
She said Republicans "know they are going to lose the Congress [in next November's elections] so they're just taking all the furniture, all the paintings off the wall, everything they can get to give away to corporate America. It's just so obvious."
Republicans heap praise
Republican leaders heaped praise on Trump for winning passage of the legislation after he had failed earlier in the year to overhaul national health care policies championed by former President Barack Obama. But the tax legislation did achieve a long-term Republican goal, repeal of the penalty against people who failed to buy health insurance, a key pillar of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
Republican lawmakers also lauded Trump for his "exquisite presidential leadership" and as a "man of action" for passage of the tax law, which he plans to sign soon.
In the meantime, Republican and Democratic lawmakers are scrambling to avert a partial shutdown of U.S. government operations when funding runs out at midnight Friday. Negotiators are working on a deal to mostly continue funding for government agencies at current levels until January 19, pushing off decisions on controversial spending and policy issues until after the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives would have to agree to the temporary funding before sending it to Trump for his signature.
As the budget talks continued Thursday, Trump claimed House Democrats want a shutdown.