Trump hails AT&T for giving $1,000 bonuses to more than 200,000 employees because of tax bill passage

AT&T on Wednesday hailed Congress’s passage of tax cuts and announced it would invest an additional $1 billion in the United States next year, and pay a one-time $1,000 holiday bonus to more than 200,000 U.S. employees.

In a press release, the company, which is in the midst of a proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE has criticized, said the bonuses would be paid to all "union-represented, non-management and front-line managers." 

"If the President signs the bill before Christmas, employees will receive the bonus over the holidays," the press release said.

The move got the attention of Trump, who opened a White House celebration with congressional Republicans over the tax bill's passage by quoting from the AT&T release.

AT&T has previously backed the tax plan, with CEO Randall Stephenson saying at a Business Roundtable event earlier this year that it would be a "bad indictment" if Republicans failed to pass the bill.

On Wednesday, he said the bill would "drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs," adding that AT&T would increase its investment in the United States in addition to paying out bonuses.

AT&T's merger with Time Warner has been controversial with the Trump administration, and the Justice Department sued to block the move earlier this year saying it would hurt consumers.

The Justice Department allegedly told AT&T it would have to sell off CNN’s parent company as a condition for the merger, which AT&T balked at. Trump has been a frequent critic of CNN, labeling it “fake news.”

Trump himself said the proposed merger is “not good for the country.”

Republicans in the House and Senate passed sweeping tax reform on Wednesday without a single Democratic vote. The bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, repeals ObamaCare’s individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance and allows for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The bill will be sent to Trump to sign into law.

Republicans argued the bill will help make U.S. businesses more competitive, while Democrats objected to the legislation, saying it disproportionately benefits the wealthy and large corporations.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration White House: Trump remarks didn't derail shutdown talks Schumer defends Durbin after GOP senator questions account of Trump meeting MORE (D-N.Y.) specifically criticized AT&T after the bill was passed in the Senate, saying the company has paid an 8 percent tax rate over the past decade and cut 80,000 jobs. 

“That one statistic belies all this trickle-down bunk that our Republican colleagues still cling to even though it’s outdated and disproven,” Schumer said.