President Donald Trump may wait until next year to sign the tax bill Congress is likely to approve Wednesday if lawmakers don't separately pass a provision to waive certain budget rules that trigger automatic spending cuts.
At issue are so-called "pay as you go," or "pay-go," budget rules that could be triggered by deficits in the tax bill. Congressional Republicans are preparing a separate fix to waive the rules after they finish the tax bill, but if they don't do it before Congress adjourns for its year-end recess, one way to delay the automatic cuts would be to sign the bill in January.
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After the House finishes the Senate-approved version of the tax bill on Wednesday, Congress has to complete work on a bill known as a "continuing resolution," or "CR," to fund the government when current spending provisions expire Friday.
"If we can get 'pay-go' waived in the CR, we will sign the tax bill this year," said Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, at an event Wednesday morning hosted by media company Axios. "The president would like to sign the tax bill." Mr. Cohn described the budget rule complication as "a technical issue."
Mr. Cohn also flatly ruled out any prospect that lawmakers would allow government funding to lapse after Friday, which would trigger a partial government shutdown. "We're going to get a CR in the next two days, and Congress is going to be on their way home by the weekend," he said.
-- Nick Timiraos
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 20, 2017 10:00 ET (15:00 GMT)