House Republicans got their tax reform bill over the line Thursday afternoon, with a vote of 227 yeas to 205 nays.
Members of the GOP caucus let out a cheer from the House floor when enough votes were counted to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as a handful of Democrats gesticulated at their colleagues and sang out ‘Na Na Na Na Hey Hey-ey Goodbye,’ a suggestion that the tax vote would be political poison in the midterms next year.
For now, though, Republicans treated the bill’s passage as good news as Trump had yet to have a major legislative victory this year, with tax reform being taken up in the Senate next.
‘This is one of the most historic and the biggest things that we will ever do,’ proclaimed House Speaker Paul Ryan minutes before the bill was passed. ‘And the reason is because this is one of the biggest things we can do to improve people’s lives, to revitalize that beautiful, American idea, to spread liberty and freedom.’
The vote came directly after President Trump visited Capitol Hill to give a rah-rah speech to Republicans, described by Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers to DailyMail.com as a ‘pep rally.’
After the bill’s passage, the White House continued to play cheerleader.
‘A simple, fair, and competitive tax code will be rocket fuel for our economy, and it’s within our reach,’ Trump’s spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. ‘Now it’s time to deliver,’ she added, a message likely directed at the Senate.
As he did in his televised speech from the White House yesterday, Trump re-counted his 12 day trip to Asia, regaling lawmakers with his stories of meeting world leaders.
‘He talked a lot about his trip. Some of the successes he had in terms of trade deals suggested others might materialize going forward,’ said Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma.
Trump also talked about his efforts to get China to free three UCLA basketball players something he highlighted yesterday when he tweeted that he wondered if the players would thank him.
One thing the president didn’t do was engage in bartering with a large group of lawmakers who might leak word of any infighting.
He didn’t even address a primary sticking point with a Senate tax cut – its inclusion of a provision to repeal the Obamacare individual mandate.
‘He was very careful I think to avoid any kind of specifics in that regard,’ said Cole.
‘There was no specifics at all, actually, in the meeting,’ said New York GOP Rep. Dan Donavan, who opposes the bill in its current form.
Donovan later cemented that with a no vote.
‘It was just a general discussion, actually he didn’t even take questions, he spoke, he talked about his trip to Asia among other things and really just asked everybody to go out there and get tax reform passed,’ he told DailyMail.com.
Trump came to the Capitol to try to give a final boost to a House $1.5 trillion tax cut, after some ominous signs for Republicans in the Senate.
House leaders had already expressed that they have assembled the needed 218 votes for their tax cut bill, meaning Trump’s visit was merely symbolic.