During a Wednesday speech at the White House to promote the GOP tax overhaul, President Donald Trump paused to let an African-American pastor give brief remarks.
“Leon and Maria Benjamin are pastors of New Life Harvest Church,” Trump said. “Under our plan, they will get a larger tax refund to help them pay their bills. They’ll receive a tax refund, this year, of $3,000.”
Emphasizing that the Benjamins have a “beautiful church,” Trump invited them up to the podium.
Leon walked up, before motioning for his wife to come join him. Then, he began his remarks by praising God.
“To God be the glory!” he declared.
“On behalf of the Benjamin family and of course, Richmond, Virginia, we represent a cadre of many families across the nation,” he added. “African-American families, urban communities, and families all across need this now.”
“And it’s time for a change, and it’s time that we recognize that our president is making good on his promises.”
Benjamin closed by promising to pray for Trump and his team as they “move forward and forge ahead with this new future in America.”
After he was done, Trump returned to the podium.
“He can be my minister anytime,” the president joked, garnering laughter from those in attendance.
The event at the White House came several hours after Republican leaders in Congress reached a deal on a final version of tax reform legislation, moving the bill one step closer to Trump’s desk.
BREAKING: AP sources say House, Senate leaders reach agreement in principle on sweeping tax package.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) December 13, 2017
The new bill reportedly cuts the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, significantly lower than the current 35 percent rate, but also slightly higher than the 21 percent rate that was proposed in the House and Senate bills.
Moreover, the compromise legislation cuts the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, according to Business Insider.
Another major compromise was made regarding state and local deductions. If the bill goes through, taxpayers can choose either a SALT deduction or a property tax deduction of up to $10,000, Politicoreported, citing a congressional aide and “a person familiar with the process.”
“I think we’ve got a pretty good deal,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch told reporters, according to Reuters.
A Senate and House conference committee held a public hearing on Wednesday afternoon regarding the legislation. A final vote could come next week, The New York Times reported.
“We’re very close. I don’t want to get out in front of the chairmen but we’ve very close,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told Politico.
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