President Trump on Wednesday made his closing arguments for his tax agenda, as House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement in conference to work out the differences between their two bills.
But the president's closing-in-on-victory lap speech at the White House had a cloudy backdrop. On Wednesday, he gave his first address since Roy Moore, the Republican he endorsed who was accused of sexual misconduct with minors, lost to Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama special U.S. Senate race Tuesday night. Not only does Moore's defeat mark a loss for Mr. Trump's chosen candidate, but it will likely make the president's legislative agenda more difficult to accomplish in the future, since Republicans will soon only have a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate.
For now, the president looks on track to meet his goal of signing a tax bill before Christmas.
For his speech, the president talked up the impact of the bill for middle-class families. The White House has invited a number of families to attend, along with Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and chief White House economist Gary Cohn.
Follow below for live updates from earlier.
Trump ends speech without mentioning Moore
The president stuck to taxes in his speech, which wrapped up after only about 22 minutes.
Mr. Trump didn't mention Moore's loss, Alabama politics or really any other topics, sticking to taxes.
Trump: Democrats like the tax bill "a lot"
Mr. Trump said Democrats like his tax bill but aren't supporting it for purely political reasons.
"They like it a lot. And they can't say it," he said.
Trump on tax bill: "I didn't see the bill"
Trump said one of the opponents of his tax plan opposed the legislation, saying it cut taxes for the wealthy, without even seeing the bill.
Democrats were frustrated ahead of the Senate's passage of the bill precisely because Republicans unveiled it only hours before the vote, without Democratic input.
"I didn't see the bill," the president said.
Trump: I used the word "media" instead of "fake news"
Mr. Trump gave a nod to the "media," making a point that he addressed members of the media as such instead of one of his favored terms, "fake news."
The president explained that this is a good day.
So far, the president has largely stuck to the script, and hasn't mentioned Moore.
Trump invites families to podium to say how they'll spend savings
Mr. Trump invited families up to the podium, introducing them and describing their tax burdens and how that should change under his plan.
The families described plans to pay for their kids' college tuition and make home renovations, among other plans.
"To God be the glory," said one pastor from Richmond, Virginia, who came with his wife and three children.
"It's time for a change. And it's time we recognize his president is making good on his promises," the man added.
Trump says he'll never let "bad things happen" to the economy
Mr. Trump said he will never allow "bad things" to happen to the economy.
Trump says Congress has struck a deal on tax bill
Mr. Trump said House and Senate negotiators have reached a deal on the tax bill, even as they speak.
He also said his plan should cut taxes significantly for individuals, and be the equivalent of a $4,000 income increase considering corporate tax cuts.
The president said he believes this will bring back the "beautiful" phrase, "Made in the U.S.A."
Trump takes the podium, remarks released
President Trump takes the stage, and excerpts of his speech are now public.
Excerpts below, emphasis original:
"As a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive tax cut for the everyday, working Americans who are the BACKBONE and HEARTBEAT of our country. Now we are just days away from keeping that promise and delivering a truly amazing victory for American families. We want to give you the American People a giant TAX CUT for Christmas."
"Our current tax code is burdensome, complex and profoundly unfair - it has exported our jobs, closed our factories, and left millions of parents worried that their children might be the FIRST generation to have LESS opportunity than the LAST. I am here today to tell you that we will NEVER let that happen."
"55 years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy - a Democrat - launched a historic effort to pass sweeping, top-to-bottom tax cuts. A half-century later, we are reminded that lowering taxes is neither a Republican or Democrat idea - but an AMERICAN principle."
Trump slated to speak soon
Mr. Trump is about to speak, and the White House has released embargoed excerpts of his remarks.
To be seen is whether Mr. Trump sticks to the script, or adds his own commentary unrelated to taxes.
Trump says tax bill is "very, very close"
Earlier in the afternoon at a working lunch with key members of Congress, the president said his major tax overhaul is "very, very close."
The Associated Press reported shortly before noon that House and Senate negotiators had reached a deal in the sweeping package, which will likely be voted on next week.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady also said it's close, although he wouldn't say whether there was a tentative deal.
"Look, I feel like we're getting close here in a real positive way," he told reporters. "A lot of work has been done. So, we want to have the conference committee today to sort of talk about how we get to a final agreement."