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CNN NEWSROOM

President Trump and Republicans Celebrate Tax Bill. Aired 3- 3:30p ET

Aired December 20, 2017 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:01]

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is a very big deal. You can debate the merits of the bill. You can debate the current polling.

Clearly, Republicans have a lot to do to sell this bill. But, at this moment, they now have something tangible that they can bring into 2018 and say, look, you guys brought us here, and we got something done. Now you decide whether or not you like what we did, Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Mm-hmm. Phil Mattingly on the Hill.

Look at these pictures there, the beautifully decorated, very Christmasy White House.

Chris Cillizza, we are just, I think, moments away from the president speaking out and speaking.

But just listening to you, what is the message? Is it, I promised I would do this for you America and, look, and I have delivered?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: We did it.

BALDWIN: We did it.

CILLIZZA: Now, I think you have to say two things, and Phil Mattingly touched on this. You have to say this is a major accomplishment for the Republican Congress and President Trump.

You also have to say this is massive political risk that they are taking.

BALDWIN: Why?

CILLIZZA: This bill is not popular.

BALDWIN: Yes.

CILLIZZA: It just isn't. Could they sell it?

Yes. Mitch McConnell said, if we can't sell this, we don't belong in Congress.

OK. If they can't sell it, I would say a lot of the current Republican members of Congress may not be in Congress in 2019. But this is a bill that is not popular, but was driven by necessity.

The health care failure, I think, led directly -- as Phil noted, led directly to this success. They did it faster than I certainly thought they possibly could. And they are getting it signed in a very high- profile way. Or it will be signed in a very high-profile way in a few days.

So, this is a big moment for Republicans. This is what they dreamed of when they won control of the White House, the House, and the Senate. Let's see if what they dreamed about winds up being a nightmare.

It may be politically, looking at it right now.

BALDWIN: Let's go straight to the White House and listen in.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, everybody. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody, very much.

And these are the people right behind me -- they've worked so long, so hard.

It's been an amazing experience, I have to tell you. Hasn't been done in 34 years, but actually really hasn't been done, because we broke every record.

TRUMP: It's the largest -- I always say "the most massive," but it's the largest tax cut in the history of our country -- and reform, but tax cut. Really something special.

(APPLAUSE)

And I noticed -- this just came out two minutes ago. They handed it to me -- AT&T plans to increase U.S. capital spending $1 billion and provide $1,000 special bonus to more than 200,000 U.S. employees. And that's because of what we did, so...

(APPLAUSE)

... that's pretty good. That's pretty good.

And I have a whole list of accomplishments that the group behind me have done, in terms of this administration and this Congress. But you've heard it before: records all over the place, and that will continue, and then some, because of what we did.

But $3.2 trillion -- just think of it -- in tax cuts for American families, including doubling the standard deduction and doubling the child tax credit. The typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of more than $2,000. They're going to have $2,000, and that's, in my opinion, going to be less than the average. You're going to have a lot more than that.

(APPLAUSE)

One thing, very important for the farmers -- the great farmers and the great small business owners that were forced to sell their businesses at bargain-basement numbers: We have provided, for the most part, estate taxes wiped out so they can keep their farms in the family. And that, to me, is a very big factor -- very big.

(APPLAUSE)

This is -- this is going to mean companies are going to be coming back. You know, I campaigned on the fact that we're not going to lose our companies anymore. They're going to stay in our country, and they're going to stay in our country. And you've been seeing what's been happening, even at this prospect.

But they have tremendous enthusiasm, right now, in this country. And we have companies pouring back into our country. And that means jobs, and it means, really, the formation of new, young, beautiful, strong companies. So that's going to be very, very important.

The pass-throughs you know all about and the small businesses are going to be big beneficiaries. We are going to bring at least $4 trillion back into this country, money that was frozen overseas, and in parts and worlds (ph) -- and some of them don't even like us, and they had the money.

Well, they're not going to have the money long. And so it's -- it's really...

(APPLAUSE)

... I guess it's very simple. When you think -- you haven't heard this expression, but we are making America great again. You haven't heard that, have you?

(APPLAUSE)

I want to -- I want to have them get up and get the glamour and the glory. And I just want to have a few of them come up, and they'll speak for a little while, and short. If they -- the shorter, the better. That way, we can...

(LAUGHTER)

... we can get all of you. We'll get everybody up, right?

But I want to thank Mitch McConnell. I want to thank -- what a job. What a job.

(APPLAUSE)

And I want to thank Paul. They're going to speak. They're going to say a few words. But Paul Ryan and Mitch -- it was a little team. We just got together, and we would work very hard, didn't we?

(UNKNOWN): Yes, we did.

TRUMP: It seems like -- it was a lot of fun. It's always a lot of fun, when you win.

(LAUGHTER)

If you work hard and lose, that's not acceptable. But I'm just going to name a few names, and then some of them will come up -- but people that I saw so much over the last month, and really, over the last almost year. Because, when you think of it, we haven't even been a year and we did the largest tax cut in our history.

We -- I hate to say this, but we essentially repealed Obamacare, because we got rid of the individual mandate, which was terrible.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And that was a primary source of funding of Obamacare.

And ANWR. So a friend of mine -- oh congratulations.

(LAUGHTER)

And Dan, where's Dan?

(UNKNOWN): Don. Don. Right behind you.

TRUMP: No, and Don too. (OFF-MIKE)

I'll tell you between Dan and Don and Lisa, you've done a very great job.

So a friend of mine called up about ANWR. He's in the office (ph). He said, "You didn't get ANWR?" And I said, "Tell me about ANWR." He said, "We've been trying to get that passed, the whole country, the world. They tried in Ronald Reagan, they tried with the Bushes, they tried with everybody. They never got ANWR." But we got ANWR in this bill.

(APPLAUSE)

So have ANWR, we have mandate, and we have the tax cut and we have the reform. I mean, when you add up the size of this bill, it's really great.

So Lisa, thank you very much. Lisa Murkowski.

So John Cornyn. The great chairman Orrin Hatch.

(APPLAUSE)

Great job, Orrin.

Wow. Orrin, is a special person. Tim Scott, who has been so incredible. He's going to say a few words.

Where is Tim? (OFF-MIKE)

(APPLAUSE) (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I have it -- I have it mostly memorized. But Tim Scott has been great.

John Thune, where's John? John. John.

Great job, John.

(APPLAUSE)

Rob Portman, a real student of the tax world.

Rob, thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank -- I said hello to John Cornyn -- Pat Toomey. He has been -- we rode together in Pennsylvania. But, Pat, where's Pat? Pat?

Great job.

(APPLAUSE)

He knows his business.

Susan Collins we want to thank. Susan's around some place, Susan.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, Susan.

All friends. I mean, I look at these people, it's like we're warriors together.

Kristi Noem on the House. We have Kristi Noem and Diane Black.

(APPLAUSE)

Our great speaker, Paul Ryan. And he is a great speaker.

(APPLAUSE)

Great job.

Kevin McCarthy. Kevin, what a job done.

We had fun. Did we have a good time?

(APPLAUSE)

Steve Scalise. He's braver than all of us. He brave. (APPLAUSE) Where is he? Oh, boy, I don't know. He had a -- he had a

rougher year than most of us.

But that's a hell of a way to lose weight, Steve.

(LAUGHTER)

You said you lost -- not a good way. We love you Steve. Great job. Great job.

(APPLAUSE)

Kevin Brady, Kevin.

(APPLAUSE)

Kevin Brady.

So maybe what I'll do is -- and by the way, I mentioned AT&T, but many companies have come forward in saying they're so happy and they're going to be doing similar announcements. So we're going to see something that's going to be very special. We're bringing the entrepreneur back into this country. We're getting rid of all the knots and all the ties. And we're going to see -- you're going to see, you're going to see what happens.

And ultimately, what does it mean? It means jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

So it's going to be really a very special period of time. We're in a very special period time. And it's going to be even more so.

I want to thank everybody behind me.

Maybe I could start with Mitch, and then we'll go to Paul, and then we're going to have a few of the folks come up and say a few words. And we'll have a little fun. Thank you.

Mitch, how about you start it?

(APPLAUSE)

MCCONNELL: Well, let me just say, Mr. President, you made the case for the tax bill, but this has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration.

(APPLAUSE)

MCCONNELL: We've cemented the Supreme Court right of center for a generation.

(APPLAUSE)

Mr. President, thanks to your nominees, we put 12 circuit court judges in place, the most since the circuit court system was established in 1891. You hold the record.

(APPLAUSE)

You've ended the overregulation of the American economy, and that, coupled with what we did last night and what the House finished this morning, means America is going to start growing again.

Thank you, Mr. President, for all you're doing.

(APPLAUSE)

RYAN: First of all, what this represents is a promise that each and every one of us made to the American people last year is a promise that is kept today.

(APPLAUSE)

Something this big, something this generational, something this profound, could not have been done without exquisite presidential leadership. Mr. President, thank you for getting us over the finish line. Thank you for getting us where we are.

(APPLAUSE)

I just want to quickly just say a thanks, because this has been such a team effort from everybody. I want to thank Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin from the president's economic team for what they did to get us here.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank my partner, Mitch McConnell, over in the Senate, for getting us to where we are. And I want to thank these two chairmen, Orrin Hatch and Kevin Brady. Thank you so much for your leadership on this.

(APPLAUSE)

It is really simple. The message to the hard-working taxpayers of America is, your tax relief is on its way. That is what's happening here. The message to the families in America who have been struggling paycheck and paycheck -- your tax rates are going down and your paychecks are going up.

This is the kind of relief that Americans deserve. This is the kind of tax reform and tax cuts that get our economy growing to reach its potential. This gets us better wages, bigger paychecks, a simpler tax system. This gets the American economy competitive in the global economy.

This is one of the most important things we could do for all of the people we represent. This is generational, and we're so excited that we are going to launch, next year, this fantastic tax reform so that the American people can see how we can truly reach our economic growth and our economic potential.

And if it weren't for all the leadership of the men and women up here, this would not have been made possible. But, lastly, I just want to thank the American people. I want to thank the American people for putting their trust in us, for giving us this chance and this ability to make this moment possible. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: A man who's been working very hard -- thank you, Paul -- very, very hard for a long period of time. And last night was very much a culmination. But -- I don't know if we'll have bigger moments, but we hope to. We're going to try.

A very special guy and great friend of mine, Vice President Mike Pence.

PENCE: Well, thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for those kind words. But, more importantly, thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your boundless faith in the American people, and thank you for keeping your promise to see this Congress deliver the largest tax cut in American history before Christmas of this year.

Merry Christmas, America.

(APPLAUSE)

PENCE: To members of our Cabinet, to Leader McConnell, to Speaker Ryan, all these members of Congress, thank you. Thank you not only for being here today for this special moment, but thank you for your leadership and support throughout this year.

I truly do believe, Mr. President, that this will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the life of our nation, a day when the Congress answered your call and made history.

But honestly, I would say to the American people, President Trump has been making history since the first day of this administration.

(APPLAUSE)

We've been rebuilding our military, standing with our veterans, and just last week, President Trump signed one of largest investments in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan.

We've been defending our borders, upholding the rule of law. Illegal crossings on our southern border are down by more than 50 percent. And President Trump has been restoring American credibility on the world stage, standing with our allies and standing up to our enemies.

As the president reflected earlier today, our NATO allies are paying more toward their common defense. North Korea is more isolated than ever before. This president's put Iran on notice and put the war on (sic) Afghanistan on a path to victory.

And, thanks to the leadership of this commander in chief and the courage of our Armed Forces, ISIS on the run, their capital has fallen and their so-called caliphate has crumbled across Syria and Iraq.

(APPLAUSE) But what brings us here today is that President Trump also knows that American strength starts with a growing American economy. And, from the first day of this administration, this President championed free and fair trade.

He rolled back federal red tape at record levels. We've unleashed American energy. And today, Mr. President, you've fulfilled the promise you made to millions of Americans struggling in this economy, to cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses large and small.

In August of this year, the president laid out his vision for a tax cut that would be a middle-class miracle, and that's exactly what the Congress passed today.

(APPLAUSE)

This tax cut will put more money in the pockets of the American people. It will make our tax code more simple, more fair, more easy to understand. It'll make businesses across America more competitive to create good paying jobs and raise wages for working Americans.

I can tell you -- I serve with him every day -- President Donald Trump is a man of his word. He's a man of action. And with the strong support of these members of Congress, President Donald Trump delivered a great victory for the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

We made history today. But, as the president said when we gathered this morning, a few of us with a few less hours' sleep than usual, we're just getting started. And I can assure you this president and this entire administration will not rest and relent until the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more.

So thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your love for this country and the people of this country. And I know in my heart, with the strong, continued support of the members of Congress who are gathered on these steps and with God's help, you will make America great again.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you, Mike, very much.

A friend of mine, a very, very special man, Tim Scott -- Tim, I'd like you to say a few words. He came in, and he would solve some problems that -- we weren't looking too good a couple of times, and Tim was really, really a tremendous help.

TRUMP: Thank you, Tim.

(APPLAUSE)

SCOTT: Well, Mr. President, during one of those conversations that we had, we talked about ways to improve distressed communities throughout this country. Fifty-two million Americans living in distressed communities -- and we talked about legislation that can move those communities forward. And you said, "Yes."

And, as a part of this tax reform package, the Investing in Opportunity Act has been included, which will bring trillions of dollars into poor communities, because of your willingness to listen.

(APPLAUSE)

The president said I only have about 45 more minutes, so I'm going to get to my...

(LAUGHTER)

(UNKNOWN): A long time expired.

SCOTT: ... he didn't say that? OK, got it.

Let me just say to those Americans who are watching this process, this is not about Washington. It's not about the left. It's not about the right. It's about single-parent moms who are looking for a reason to be hopeful in 2018. This tax reform plan delivers, for the average single mother, a 70 percent tax cut.

For the average family who's working paycheck-to-paycheck, looking for ways to be hopeful about their future, to have an extra night for dinner out at a restaurant, this tax reform package cuts their taxes by nearly 60 percent.

And, because of folks like Marco Rubio and Ivanka, when you think about the folks with kids in the household, this plan doubles the Child Tax Credit and makes about 70 percent of it refundable. This is a plan that we can be proud of, because it speaks to the hearts of everyday Americans.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Diane, come on up. Diane Black. Thank you, Diane.

(APPLAUSE)

BLACK: Thank you, Mr. President. And I want to thank all of the folks that are standing behind me, because it has been a team effort. When we talk about doing tax reform and the tax reform and jobs cuts (sic) act, that is what the American people are going to benefit by.

And, as Tim has just said, it is the average American -- that's the reason why we did this tax reform. We looked at those right in the middle, those families that need the assistance and the help and the relief to be able to be able to live their lives the way we have promised with the American Dream.

It is such an honor to stand here with the president of the United States, the vice president of the United States, who have been an integral part in making sure that this happened. I want to thank Kevin Brady, who I know -- hours and hours and hours

-- worked hard to make this happen in what was really a short period of time. And some of the folks that are being left out right now -- and I know we've thanked them before, but I want to thank them publicly. And that is all of the staff that has worked so hard in both the House and the Senate to make this happen.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, we can say "Merry Christmas" to the American people, because we are giving them a huge gift for Christmas: a break in these taxes and an opportunity for our jobs to grow and to give them a bigger paycheck.

BLACK: And so I want to say thank you to Mr. President -- thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to have you as our president and to make America great again.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you, Diane, very much. And we can say "Merry Christmas" again. People are saying "Merry Christmas" again, and we like the sound.

I want to ask Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to come up, from Alaska. They've been really working -- and if Don Young is here, and I think he's around here, the three of them. Come here.

(UNKNOWN): Dan and Don's right here.

TRUMP: Come here. Dan -- get over here, Dan.

SULLIVAN: Yes, sir.

TRUMP: Lisa?

(UNKNOWN): You'll get right here.

MURKOWSKI: Thank you.

(UNKNOWN): You'll get my name right.

TRUMP: I did, actually (OFF-MIKE).

MURKOWSKI: Mr. President, I don't know if you've recognized -- this is a very historic day, of course, but it's also the beginning of winter solstice. Now it doesn't feel like it, right now, but the winter solstice is the shortest day, the darkest day.

And, for -- in -- for us in Alaska, we've had some pretty dark days recently. But, with passage of this tax bill, with passage finally, almost 40 years later, to allow us to open up the 1002 area, this is a bright day for Alaska. This is a bright day for America.

(APPLAUSE) So we thank you for that. We thank you for that. Think about it. Thirty-one years we've been working on tax reform; 38 years now to open up ANWR. This has been a multigenerational fight. And I look to some of our friends from Alaska who have come 5,000 miles to be here for the vote last night and today.

(APPLAUSE)

To those -- to those who live there, to those who raise their families there and to those who are looking to live for generations, know that our promise to you today is a bright future -- one where we care for our environment, where we care for our people and we also care for our country in providing a resource that is needed not only by the United States, by Alaskans, but by our friends and allies.

This, Mr. President, is what energy dominance is all about. So let's go.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

SULLIVAN: Well, Mr. President, I want to thank you and you administration. I want to thank Secretary Zinke, who's doing a great job. But Senator Murkowski said it very well.

This administration has come in and recognized this incredible, incredible resource that we have in our nation. Developing our energy is good for jobs. It's good for energy security. It's good for manufacturing. It's good for the environment, because we have the highest standards in the world. And it's very, very good for our foreign policy and national security.

Mr. President, sir, you released your National Security Strategy just a couple days ago, and in there, you talk about the economy, which is what this tax bill is all about, but you also talk about energy dominance.

And I want to thank you. I want to thank you on behalf of all Alaskans and the American people, because it's the right policy and we're finally, finally doing it. Thank you, sir.

YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. President.

I want to thank all these guys standing behind me, these ladies, the people that helped me do this. This is 37 years I tried to get this passed. It proves one thing: perseverance overcomes intelligence any day of the year.

(LAUGHTER)

But I want to thank the president -- I want to thank you, Mr. President -- and my two senators. This is a team that can't be beat. We'll do what's right for Alaska.

YOUNG: This bill does what's right for this nation, and the great land will be great again.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: He's a pretty popular guy, huh? Pretty good.

I want to ask Orrin Hatch -- a special friend of mine, I can tell you that, somebody that spoke really well of me when it wasn't exactly the easiest thing to do. He was just always in there, always fighting for all of us, and did a fantastic job as chairman.

Orrin, say a few words, please.

(APPLAUSE)

HATCH: Mr. President, I have to say that you're living up to every -- everything I thought you would. You're one heck of a leader and we're all benefiting from it. This bill could not have passed without you, couldn't have passed without the Alaskan delegation, couldn't have passed without the leadership in the House and the Senate, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and the other leaders as well.

All I can say is is that we're making headway. This is just the beginning.

You stop and think about it, this president hasn't even been in office for a year, and look at all the things that he's been able to get done, by sheer will in many ways.

And I just hope that we all get behind him every way we can. And we'll get this country turned around in ways that will benefit the whole world. But above all, benefit our people and bring us all to a realization of how really great America really is and how the rest of the world depends on us.

I love this country. I came from very humble roots. And I have to say that this is one of the great privileges of my life, to stand here on the White House lawn with the president of the United States, who I love and appreciate so much, and with these wonderful colleagues and Cabinet members who stand behind us, and to see all of you and realize that you care too.

All I can say is that God loves this country. We all know it. We wouldn't be where we are without him. And he loves all of you.

And we're going to keep fighting. And we're going to make this the greatest presidency that we've seen not only in generations, but maybe ever.

God bless all of you.

(APPLAUSE)