Trump rallies support for ‘once in a lifetime’ tax reform opportunity

ABC News(SAINT LOUIS, Mo.) —  With a Senate vote looming on Republicans’ long-sought tax reform aspirations, President Donald Trump gave the party’s plan one final pep rally in Missouri Wednesday as he implored Congress to deliver on the “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The president’s speech on the matter came one day after the Senate Budget Committee advanced the GOP-backed tax reform bill to the floor by a narrow, 12-11 vote along partisan lines. The ultimate success of the plan, which reduces the corporate rate, winnows the number of tax brackets and eliminates the individual health care mandate, hinges on Republicans allaying the doubts of the as many as 10 party senators who have expressed misgivings.

Trump said Wednesday that the bill would “bring Main Street roaring back” as he sold its merits to a crowd at the St. Charles Convention Center where he stood before a row of four decorated evergreens and was flanked by signs saying “Merry Christmas.”

Much as he did during his presidential campaign, Trump focused the content of his message on the middle-class workers whom his administration sought to benefit.

“Our focus is on helping the folks who work in the mailrooms and machine shops of America — the plumbers and the carpenters, the cops and the teachers, the truck drivers and the pipe fitters… all of the people who give their best each and every day to take care of their family and the country they love,” he said.

“This week’s vote can be the beginning of the next great chapter for the American Worker,” the president added.

Democrats have decried the plan as one that unduly benefits upper-class taxpayers and increases the federal deficit at the expense of economic benefits for those same middle and lower-income citizens cited by Trump Wednesday. All 48 Democratic and independent members of the Senate are expected to oppose the bill in a vote that could come as early as Thursday. Trump has labelled their efforts as “obstruction.”

But with the knowledge that the bill could pass without bipartisan support, the president appeared to issue a warning Wednesday to the bloc of Republicans still determining their position on the matter, as he teased the upcoming vote.

“Now comes the moment of truth,” he said.

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