President Donald Trump may delay signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill that gained final approval in the House on Wednesday until after the new year to avoid potential cuts to government programs, including Medicare.
If the president signs and enacts the $1.5 trillion tax reform bill before the end of the year, it will trigger automatic across-the-board cuts to Medicare and other programs, The Atlantic reported.
Under a 2010 “pay-as-you-go” law, Congress is required to offset any new spending or lower taxes.
“Just as we have done in the past, we need to pass a routine ‘Pay-Go’ waiver to avoid a draconian sequester that none of my colleagues want to see take effect,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday after Republicans passed the tax bill. “Americans are counting on us not to inflict harmful cuts on Medicare and other essential operations.”
Waiting until 2018 to sign the legislation into law would push automatic spending cuts off till 2019, which would give Congress another year to waive them.
Are there any other factors that could delay the bill's signing?
There's one last step before its presented to the president for his signature. It's a process called enrolling where the Government Printing Office prints the bill, and according to White House Legislative Director Marc Short, it could take a few days to complete.
"Typically, a bill this size takes several days for Congress to enroll and send to us, so we don't know when we're going to receive it," Short told MSNBC's Hallie Jackson in an interview Wednesday in front of the White House. "So that's going to be a factor in exactly the date that he does it, but the reality is the deal will be done."
After a bill is enrolled, the president has 10 days to sign the legislation or veto it.
What if Trump is on vacation when the bill is ready?
Jackson pressed Short asking if the president would be signing the legislation while vacationing at his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida.
"It's a possibility," he said. "It will be signed either way."