Politics

Trump hopes momentum from tax bill will get other priorities through Congress

Trump at Cabinet meeting: We're strong again

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Donald Trump and his aides hope to use momentum from Wednesday's passage of an historic tax rewrite to propel lawmakers into action on other pledges that Trump has made to American voters.

Trump and congressional leaders will huddle in the first week of January to plot next year's legislative agenda, an administration official said, with an eye toward reforming the welfare system and passing a major infrastructure package. The meeting will take place shortly after Trump returns from his Christmas vacation in Florida.

It's an attempt to harness the political winds that Trump and fellow Republicans believe are at their back after pushing through the tax overhaul.

"We had a historic victory for the American people," Trump said at the White House on Wednesday. He called the tax cuts included in the measure "an incredible Christmas gift for hardworking Americans."

The biggest legislative achievement of Trump's administration, the tax overhaul remains unpopular among Americans, according to polls. Many of the permanent benefits will go to corporations, who see their rates slashed. Tax cuts for individuals are temporary.

But Trump and Republicans nonetheless believe the lower rates will prove popular when they go into effect. Trump said on Wednesday that Americans would begin seeing the results of the bill in February.

Bipartisan action on infrastructure bill?

Trump is expected to leave for his Christmas break later this week

When he returns, his aides hope he'll be able to convince lawmakers to take quick action on other items on his agenda. Among the key questions: which issue to move on first. Trump and his aides are pushing to advance changes to the welfare system, believing they can convince a majority of lawmakers -- including some Democrats -- to back a plan that would fund job training programs for people who have been unemployed for a long time.

But some lawmakers believe an infrastructure package is more likely to garner widespread support. The administration's focus will be on shortening the permitting process for construction projects, allowing them to be completed faster.

Trump's aides hope a flurry of legislative action can help boost Trump's historically low poll numbers. But privately many recognize it's the President himself who will need to change some of his habits before the American people come around to him.

Part of the mission for Trump aides early next year will be to sell him as a get-it-done president, rather than the brash fighter who is quick to lash out on Twitter. It's not yet clear what their strategy will be, but some have suggested a wider array of events -- beyond campaign-style arena rallies and podium events in the Roosevelt Room -- that would present a fuller picture of the President.

That could include town halls or speeches to smaller groups of people, one person said. Aides have begun planning events following Trump's first State of the Union address on January 30, where the new styles could be road tested.

"Next year we're going go on to really some amazing things," Trump told members of his Cabinet at the White House on Wednesday. "We're making ourselves very strong again."


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