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An estimated $1.5 trillion worth of celebration and conflict

President Donald Trump celebrates the final passage of

President Donald Trump celebrates the final passage of the tax bill with Republican lawmakers on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. Credit: AFP/Getty Images / Saul Loeb

Merry Tax-mas

“Hail to the Chief” was played. Poinsettias were arranged before the rostrum on the South Lawn. Top elected officials in Washington’s GOP establishment arrayed themselves behind and alongside President Donald Trump in celebration of the first sweeping changes in the federal tax code in 30 years, now approved by the Senate and House.

One after the next, they sang the praises of a president with whom some had testy scraps in his first year. “We’re gonna keep fighting ... and make this the greatest presidency we’ve ever seen,” gushed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Moments later, Trump stepped forward and said, “Paul Ryan just said, ‘How good is that!’ ” The House speaker had already said his piece, hailing Trump’s “exquisite” leadership. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sounded a similar note.

“It’s always fun when you win,” Trump said, with reinforcing remarks from Vice President Mike Pence.

Reach out and pay someone

Trump touted the word from AT&T that it will pay 200,000 employees a $1,000 bonus after he signs the tax bill lowering the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

The company has an $85 billion merger pending with Time Warner that the Justice Department is attempting to block. Trump promised more announcements of the kind. The corporate portion was “probably the biggest factor in our plan,” he said.

Goodbye to all that

During last year’s campaign, President Donald Trump bitterly denounced hedge-fund managers as “paper pushers” who were “getting away with murder.” He vowed to kill the so-called carried-interest provision that allowed them to shield wealth from taxes.

No such change is reflected in the new tax bill. Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn on Wednesday blamed unidentified members of Congress for the continuance.

Obamacare off-sides

The excited president claimed during his de facto victory rally: “Obamacare has been repealed in this bill.”

Apparently it has not. It does end the mandate to carry insurance, but Trump’s remarks also had other inaccuracies on the topic, as elaborated here.

What else is happening:

  • Only a third of Americans surveyed said they’d vote or probably vote for Trump if he runs in 2020, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found.
  • Housing Secretary Ben Carson led a prayer in a Trump cabinet meeting on Tuesday expressing thanks for a “courageous” president and cabinet.
  • In case you missed it, there are losers and winners on Long Island as a result of the tax law-to-be, per Newsday’s Tom Brune.
  • Another shutdown avoidance is in the works in Congress, The Washington Post reports.
  • Donald Trump Jr. griped to a conservative group of how some people at the “highest levels” of the government “don’t want to let America be America.”
  • Even in victory, Trump bitterly complained of press coverage about the tax bill being tilted toward the rich.

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