The Latest: Ryan Says Tax Cut Needed to Keep Businesses Home 

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, leaves the House Chamber after voting on the Republican tax bill, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republicans muscled the most sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws in more than three decades through the House. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and sweeping tax cut legislation (all times local):

7:15 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is acknowledging “nobody knows” if the sweeping tax cuts Congress is enacting will produce enough economic growth to fend off soaring federal deficits.

Making the rounds of morning television news shows, the Wisconsin Republican known as a deficit hawk suggested it’s a risk that Republicans are willing to take. He tells NBC’s “Today” show America hasn’t had a 3 percent annual growth rate since the Great Recession of 2008.

“What we’re trying to do here is give relief to hard-working families,” Ryan says. “We need fast economic growth. We need help for people living paycheck to paycheck.”He says the aim of the $1.5 trillion tax cut is to keep businesses in the United States, saying the relocations overseas “is a trend that has to be reversed.”

Asked about estimates that the tax cut could add $1.46 trillion to the national debt over 10 years, he replied, “Nobody knows the answer to that question.”


3:50 a.m.

Jubilant Republicans pushed on early Wednesday to the verge of the most sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws in more than three decades, a deeply unpopular bill they insist Americans will learn to love when they see their paychecks in the new year. President Donald Trump cheered the lawmakers on, eager to claim his first major legislative victory.

After midnight, the Senate narrowly passed the legislation on a party-line 51-48 vote. Protesters interrupted with chants of “kill the bill, don’t kill us” and Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly called for order. Upon passage, Republicans cheered, with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin among them.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., insisted Americans would respond positively to the tax bill.

“If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work,” he said.

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