A planned Republican overhaul of the U.S.’s tax code is near completion, President Donald Trump said Wednesday.
"We are very, very close to a historic legislative victory," he said as House and Senate leaders seek to rectify their bills against one another before sending an agreed upon version to Trump to be signed into law.
“It’s a massive tax cut for the middle class and it's about jobs,” Trump said at a White House luncheon with Republicans working on the bill. "And the jobs are really defined by the companies. The companies are going to be expanding and they're going to be creating jobs.”
The House passed its tax overhaul bill in November, and the Senate followed suit Dec. 1. But the bills have major differences, including the number of envisioned tax brackets and divergent expiration dates for a range of reforms.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters he is "confident" the bill will pass the legislature next week.
Republican Senate and House leaders have agreed in principle to a reconciliation bill, according to multiple reports. The agreed upon version drops the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and would be effective next year rather than 2019, the New York Times reported.
Trump said he would "be thrilled" to support a 21 percent corporate tax rate.
"We'll see. We have haven't set that final figure yet, but certainly 21 is a very great difference," he said.
Democrats, meanwhile, have been seeking a delay to the bill following an upset victory in Alabama Tuesday for a U.S. Senate seat, which further whittled down the Republican majority in the chamber. With Doug Jones' victory, Democrats now hold 47 seats in the Senate. Coupled with the chamber's two Independents who caucus with Democrats, the victory provides a critical inroad that could stymy Republican efforts to implement Trump's legislative agenda, including the tax overhaul.
"The people of Alabama have spoken. Republicans and the administration must drop their partisan attempts to rush a corporate handout through Congress until Senator-Elect Jones is sworn in," Democratic Senator Ron Wyden wrote on Twitter.
On the Senate floor, Wyden's colleague, Elizabeth Warren, said the "partisan proposal" will "shovel a trillion dollars in tax giveaways to giant corporations and the wealthy while undermining the health care and raising taxes for millions of middle class families.
"Republicans who control the Senate face a choice: will they allow Senator-elect Doug Jones to take his seat among his colleagues before a final vote on their tax plan?" she asked. "Democracy matters, even when it means it might slow down a president's agenda."
Trump later claimed Democrats like the bill, but said they will not support it due to politics.
"We will have very little Democratic support, probably none, and that is purely for political reasons. They like it a lot and they cannot say it," he said at the White House.