The GOP has been busy celebrating its first legislative victory since the 2016 election. The Republican tax bill was passed by the Senate this week in a move that ushers a new era in US tax code history. However, how long will the new tax code last? This is the big question for the president and the GOP.
President Trump couldn’t be happier with the bill. The president attributed the success to concerted efforts among Republicans to see it through. On Wednesday, Trump met Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to celebrate the victory. The president commended the two for showing leadership in Congress and galvanizing GOP support behind the tax reform agenda.
For many Republicans this was a rare moment of cooperation after Trump took the office early this year. When Republicans took control of the presidency and Congress, it was clear that the GOP had gained a significant mandate in US leadership. There was a feeling that such a mandate would pave the way for a sustained period of conservative rule.
However, it hasn’t been easy for the president. The failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare was one of the lowest moments for the president and by the extension the GOP. What had appeared as a strong mandate for the GOP was fleeting and fighting within the party hampered Trump’s first piece of legislative reform.
The passing of the Republican tax bill will, however, do well to reassure conservatives who believe in the Trump administration. House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the president for his “exquisite leadership” that facilitated the passing of the tax bill. Ryan also noted that this was a big win for the GOP and could signal a turning point in the relationship between the White House and Republican senators.
Vice President Mike Pence also expressed optimism saying that this was only the beginning. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy termed the bill’s passing as “a big day for America.” Utah senator Orrin Hatch couldn’t hold back in his praise for the president. The Senator predicts a united GOP in the future saying that this will make Trump’s presidency the greatest ever.
Despite all this optimism, President Trump was somewhat reserved in his reaction. The president appeared unsure of whether the bill’s passing was a signal of great moments to come in the future. However, he still hopes that it will open the door for more cooperation and unity within the GOP moving forward.
The biggest challenge for the Republicans would be to sell the bill to a hostile crowd. The new tax code is not the most popular piece of legislation. A poll by CNN found that only 33% of Americans agreed with the bill and its provisions.
There are also a few bigger issues awaiting the president next year including welfare reforms and infrastructure spending. All these undertakings will require strong support from Congress. It’s still too early to say whether the president will get the backing he needs. However, the fact that he managed to rally Republicans behind the tax bill could be a sign of better things to come.