Trump signed the tax bill yesterday evening. There had been reports that he was going to hold off until January to sign it — but he claimed that he changed his mind simply to keep a promise. CNN:
“I was going to wait for a formal signing some time in early January, but then I watched the news this morning and they were all saying, ‘Will he keep his promise, will he sign it by Christmas?'” Trump said. “And I called downstairs and said get it ready, we have to sign it now.”
Trump might be clueless enough that he believes this, but it’s not the real reason he signed the bill this year. I explained recently that Trump was considering delaying the signing of the bill until the beginining of the year, because a pay-as-you-go provision was going to trigger some inconvenient spending cuts:
President Trump may not sign the tax bill until January even after congressional Republicans passed it in a rush to get it to the White House before Christmas, his top economic adviser said Tuesday.
Rather, the administration may hold off on signing the bill into law in order to avoid an awkward vote on spending cuts that would be mandated under pay-as-you-go law. If Trump signs the bill in 2018 rather than 2017, he would avoid that vote for another year and take a leverage point away from Democrats.
“There’s a technical issue on something called PAYGO,” National Economic Council director Gary Cohn said Wednesday morning at a public interview with the publication Axios.
PAYGO requires that tax cuts added to the deficit be offset [with] mandatory spending cuts to certain government programs. Congress wouldn’t have control over those cuts, and they would cut deeply into Medicare, farm subsidies, and other government programs. Neither Democrats nor Republicans would favor those cuts.
GOP leaders have reassured lawmakers that the automatic cuts will be waived.
But guess what? The law mandating automatic cuts was waived in a recent spending measure:
The bill also includes language to waive certain pay-as-you-go rules that the GOP tax bill would trigger because of the new debt in their tax bill, which won’t be signed into law until these so-called Paygo rules are nullified with this legislation.
So Trump lied about why he passed up a January signing. It was no longer necessary, because Republicans managed to get a waiver of the law mandating fiscal responsibility.
He didn’t nix the January signing to keep a promise. He nixed it because there was no longer any reason for the delay.
Hey, he’s a showman — and being a showman often means dishonesty. We’re supposed to cheer that, right?