President Donald Trump acknowledges House Speaker Paul Ryan during a celebration of the tax bill's passage with members of the House and Senate on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 during an event on the South Portico of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Trump signs tax bill

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday morning signed a sweeping tax-cut measure — his first major legislative achievement — before heading off for a Christmas vacation at his Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach, Fla.

The president also privately signed a short-term spending bill to fund government operations through Jan. 19. Congress approved it Thursday, after Republican leaders were unable to bridge differences in their own party as well as with Democrats to get agreement on funding for the full fiscal year. The stopgap bill punts fights on immigration and other issues to January.

The tax bill, approved earlier this week in Congress in largely party-line votes, slashes corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent and also includes a host of other provisions for individuals, all intended to boost the economy.

Critics point to nonpartisan analyses showing that the package, including changes greatly reducing the number of estates subject to taxes, steers the bulk of tax benefits to top earners and the wealthy, including Trump, despite his repeated claims that he’ll take a hit.

Trump signed the bill quietly Friday, but held a public ceremony with Republican lawmakers on Wednesday after the bill’s passage; he also tweeted about the measure extensively. He is expected to hold another public ceremony after the New Year’s holiday.

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