Celebrations aside, President Trump may wait until next year to sign the tax bill into law, delaying $120 billion in automatic cuts to popular programs such as Medicare and sparing Republicans from having to explain them in an election year.
Here’s why: If Trump signs the tax bill this month, it could trigger steep automatic spending cuts early next year to a raft of programs. But if Trump waits until January to sign the bill, the spending cuts would be delayed until 2019 — after next year’s congressional elections — giving lawmakers a full year to prevent them.
In other words, Trump and his Republican allies in Congress know they sold the country an expensive bill of goods that will harm millions of people, whether it’s through higher taxes, the dismantling of Obamacare, or a spike in insurance costs. But they want to avoid these devastating effects as long as possible, particularly with a midterm election around the corner.
That’s why, despite the GOP rush to get it through Congress and the party’s suck-up celebration at the White House today, they appear reluctant to actually have the president sign it into law – at least right now.