President Trump's big sales pitch for the huge tax overhaul congressional Republicans passed on Wednesday has been consistent for weeks:
But depending on what happens next in Congress, Trump probably won't sign the tax bill into law by Christmas, or even New Year's Day. The reason? If he signs the bill this year, he's starting the clock on $120 billion in automatic spending cuts, including to popular programs like Medicare, under pay-as-you-go rules Congress passed decades ago (and have regularly flouted ever since). Congress can waive the cuts, triggered if lawmakers pass legislation that adds to the national debt — and the GOP tax bill is projected to add $1.46 trillion or more over 10 years — but Democrats may resist letting Republicans off so easily in the spending package that needs to pass by Saturday.
If Trump waits until January to sign the bill, on the other hand, the automatic spending cuts wouldn't kick in until 2019, Ed Lorenzen at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget tells CBS News. "That means Congress wouldn't have to do anything to prevent it from taking effect until the end of next year." Trump's top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, said Wednesday that Trump wants to sign the bill as soon as possible. "If we can get Paygo waived in the (spending bill), we will sign the tax bill this year," he said.
Taxpayers won't be affected either way, and their paychecks should reflect the law starting in February. How much of a cut they see will depend on their tax bracket — people making $25,000 or less will keep an average of $60 more next year, according to Tax Policy Center estimates, while the middle class — $49,000 to $86,000 — will get an extra $900 next year and people earning more than $733,000 will get an average boost of $51,000.