In signing sweeping tax Bill, Donald Trump questions whether he is getting enough credit

President Donald Trump displays his signature on a sweeping tax Bill in the Oval Office of the White House.
President Donald Trump displays his signature on a sweeping tax Bill in the Oval Office of the White House.PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - President Donald Trump signed the most consequential tax legislation in three decades on Friday (Dec 22), even as he complained that he has not been given credit for his administration's accomplishments during a turbulent first year.

Trump decided against doing a formal signing ceremony early next year (2018) because television news networks questioned whether he would keep his promise to sign the legislation before Christmas.

Trump said he saw the coverage on Friday morning and hastily called his staff to say that the legislation needed to be signed "now," prompting a last-minute Oval Office ceremony for the President's greatest achievement in his first year in office.

Republicans promise the new tax law will benefit the middle class, but Democrats have warned that the law could be harmful to many lower-income taxpayers and to the nation's fiscal health.

"It's going to be a tremendous thing for the American people," Trump said.

Before signing the legislation on Friday, Trump said in a Twitter post that companies were celebrating the Bill's passage with bonuses for workers.

During the signing ceremony, Trump said, "Corporations are literally going wild over this."

A handful of companies, including AT&T, which is seeking government approval of a major acquisition of Time Warner, have announced that they would give bonuses to workers.

Under the new tax law, individual rates will be lowered, but those cuts are set to expire in 2025. The standard deduction, which will almost double, is likely to become more popular.

The largest cut by far in the new tax law - which will not expire - benefits corporations.

The law also eliminates the Affordable Care Act's mandate that most people have health insurance or pay a penalty. Trump has said that amounted to repealing President Barack Obama's signature health-care law, but 8.8 million Americans signed up for coverage, according to figures his administration announced on Thursday. The law is not repealed, but the mandate had been considered an important feature of it.

Trump also signed a stopgap spending Bill in order to avoid a government shutdown.