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Congress passes tax bill; Trump says it's 'a lot of fun when you win'

By
Ray Downs and Danielle Haynes
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks on the passage of the Republican tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, at the White House on Wednesday. President Trump was joined by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (L), VP Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers. The tax overhaul passed the House 224-201. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks on the passage of the Republican tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, at the White House on Wednesday. President Trump was joined by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (L), VP Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers. The tax overhaul passed the House 224-201. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 20 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump praised Congress for passing a sweeping tax reform bill Wednesday, saying his first legislative victory since taking office was "a lot of fun."

The president made remarks outside the White Hours hours after the House held its final vote. He was accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence and congressional Republicans.

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"It's always a lot of fun when you win," Trump said. "It's really -- it's simple. When you think you haven't heard this express -- we are making America great again."

The House and Senate each voted Wednesday to pass a sweeping tax reform bill, giving Republicans their first major legislative victory since President Donald Trump took office.

RELATED House passes tax overhaul bill, to vote again Wednesday

Wednesday marked the second time the House voted on the legislation in less than a day. The lower chamber needed to vote again on the measure after the Senate added three changes.

The House voted 224-201 to pass the overhaul, with all Democrats and 12 Republicans voting against.

Earlier Wednesday morning, the Senate passed the bill along party lines, 51-48, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., abstaining due to health reasons.

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Trump will not sign the bill Wednesday because the final copy of the bill hasn't been sent to the White House.

The $1.5 trillion tax bill is the first major overhaul of the tax code in 30 years and cuts corporate taxes and gives temporary cuts to individual tax brackets that will return to current rates after a few years to help pay for the tax cut.

"After eight straight years of underperformance and slow growth, America is ready to take off," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a news conference after the Senate vote. "Coupled with regulatory reforms that have already been implemented by the administration, we now add comprehensive tax reform, major middle class tax relief and making our businesses both large and small, competitive around the world."

RELATED Cost of tax reform bill could reach more than $2 trillion

"We are delivering HISTORIC TAX RELIEF for the American people!" Trump tweeted after Wednesday's House vote.

Trump is expected to sign the bill into law, as early as Wednesday afternoon.

The 12 House Republicans who voted against the bill were from the higher-tax states of California, New York and New Jersey, where the bill limits deductions from state and local taxes to $10,000, The New York Times reported.

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"The bill that the Republicans jammed through the Senate tonight isn't tax reform. It's a heist. Let's call this out for what it is: Government for sale," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted after the vote. "Americans are angry. And they are right to be angry. Over & over, again & again, they watch this Congress ignore their problems while jumping to do more favors for billionaires, giant companies, & campaign donors."

The tax bill slashes corporate taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent. For individuals, it reduces the top income tax bracket from 39.6 percent to 37 percent and doubles the size of inheritances protected from estate taxation to $22 million for married couples.

The bill affects healthcare by eliminating the penalty for those who don't buy private health insurance -- and impacts the environment by opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling.

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