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Trump signs 1.5 trillion-dollar US tax package into law

US president Donald Trump has signed a 1.5 trillion dollar (£1.2 trillion) tax overhaul package into law.

Mr Trump hailed the size of the tax cut, declaring to reporters in the Oval Office before he signed the measure that "the numbers will speak".

The president said he was going to wait to sign it until after January 1, but changed his mind.

The legislation provides generous cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans and smaller ones for the middle class and low-income families.

It is the first major overhaul of the nation's tax laws since 1986, but far from the largest tax cuts in American history, as the president claims.

Politically, it marks the Republicans' first major legislative accomplishment of the Trump presidency.

According to some estimates, the cuts could add to the nation's soaring deficit.

The US president also signed a temporary spending bill to keep the government running and provide money to upgrade the nation's missile defences.

The tax cut, which fulfilled a long-held Republican goal, was at the forefront of Mr Trump's mind.

He continues to pitch the tax move as a win a for the middle class, insisting that even though polling indicates the tax cut is unpopular, the numbers will speak for themselves.

He said: "I don't think we are going to have to do much selling."

Passage of the tax bill marked a significant victory for a president hungry for one after chaos and legislative failures during his first year in office - including an effort to repeal former president Barack Obama's health care law - despite Republican control of Congress.

Mr Trump also ended the year with his sights still trained on the way the media treat him, tweeting that the mainstream media "NEVER talk about our accomplishments in the end of year reviews".

He added: "We are compiling a long @ beautiful list".

After finishing the bill signings, he jetted off to Mar-a-Lago in Florida, his plane leaving Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

The first major overhaul of the nation's tax laws since 1986 could add 1.5 trillion dollars (£1.2 trillion) to the US national debt over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Republican leaders have said they are willing to take that step in pursuit of a boost to the economy. But some in the party worry their party could face a political backlash without an aggressive public relations tour.

Mr Trump, meanwhile, continued to send mixed messages about his desire to work across the aisle.

In the Oval Office, he contended anew that Democrats "don't like tax cuts, they want to raise your taxes".

This came just hours after he tweeted a pitch for bipartisanship: "At some point, and for the good of the country, I predict we will start working with the Democrats in a bipartisan fashion. Infrastructure would be a perfect place to start. ... It is time to start rebuilding our country!"

Some White House aides and Republican leaders are looking warily ahead at the midterm election year, when typically a president's party loses seats in Congress.

That is all the more true for presidents whose approval ratings dip below 50% - and Mr Trump's have never been that high.

Additionally, the new tax law that they see as the party's top talking point is unpopular. Only about one in three voters have supported the legislation in recent days, according to several polls.

About half of Americans believe the plan will hurt their personal finances. And two in three voters say the wealthy will get the most benefits, according to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll released last week.

Starting next year, families making between 50,000 and 75,000 dollars (£37,000-£56,000) will receive average tax cuts of 890 dollars (£665), according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Centre.

Families making between 100,000 and 200,000 dollars (£74,000-£150,000) would receive average tax cuts of 2,260 dollars (£1,690), while families making more than one million dollars (£740,000) would get average tax cuts of nearly 70,000 dollars (£52,000), according to the analysis.

But if the cuts for individuals are allowed to expire, most Americans - those making less than 75,000 dollars (£56,000) - would see tax increases in 2027, according to congressional estimates.

Only high-income people would receive a meaningful tax cut after 2025, when nearly all of the plan's individual income tax provisions are due to expire.

Republicans argue that the middle class will see benefits from the business tax cuts, in the form of more jobs and higher wages.

Democrats say that is not likely to happen, and that the tax cuts are simply a boon to wealthy Americans like Mr Trump which will leave lower-income families in a lurch.

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