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Tuesday’s dispatch: The tax reform timeline
The Senate Finance Committee will vote on the Senate tax reform plan on Tuesday. That vote will come in the afternoon, after President Donald Trump meets with senators in an attempt to rally them around the bill.
Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Monday they may vote against the plan in committee. That would kill the legislation before it reaches the Senate floor, where it faces opposition from Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and concern from other Republican senators.
The GOP can’t afford more than two defections to pass the bill, and the pressure is heavy to pass the legislation this week.
Next week will be consumed by Congress working to pass a resolution to keep the government open past Dec. 8. Republicans will need Democratic votes in the House and Senate to keep the government running.
If the Senate cannot pass its tax reform package by the end of this week, it’s difficult to see how Congress can pass the legislation this year. As we reviewed Monday, Congress has a host of other must-pass bills that have to be addressed by the end of the year.
Some Republicans, like Corker, are worried that the tax plan — which cuts taxes by $1.4 trillion over a decade, largely for the wealthy and corporations — will balloon the government’s debt burden, Politico reported.
Others, like Daines, believe the legislation does too little to help small business owners. In fact, cutting taxes for small businesses in this bill would largely benefit the top 1% of earners in America, the New York Times reported.
Then there’s those like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who vaguely said “a lot of things” when asked what concerns him about a tax bill that he publicly remains undecided about.
Amendments to help low-income Americans — who would see their taxes rise in the long term under the Senate tax bill — have gained little traction, according to the Times.
All the effort to pass tax reform may be for naught, politically. A majority of small business owners oppose the plan. Multiple polls show a majority of Americans, including Democrats and independents, oppose the plan. Economists unanimously believe it would balloon the federal debt. Voters in Arizona, Maine and Tennessee — the home states of key Senate Republicans — oppose the plan.
Today’s question: Should Democrats call Trump’s bluff and support a shutdown? Or should they support a deal that would not protect DACA recipients?
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
Tuesday in Trump’s America:
Funding summit: Trump will meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to discuss keeping the government funded past Dec. 8.
Republicans want to boost military spending in 2018, which Democrats say must be matched for domestic programs.
Democrats are also pushing for any spending agreement to include protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients, thousands of whom already face deportation since Trump announced in September he would end the program.
Watch for news out of that meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The president tweeted Tuesday morning, ahead of the meeting, that “I don’t see a deal!” coming out of negotiations with Democrats. That would trigger a shutdown.
Roy Moore: The GOP Senate candidate in Alabama appeared for the first time in public since Nov. 16 for a rally Monday night. Moore’s campaign staff pushed Fox News photographers attempting to film Moore entering the rally.
Moore has been accused by at least nine women of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault. There have been few polls in Alabama since allegations against Moore surfaced, but Doug Jones, his Democratic opponent, holds a small lead. Jones has aired 10 times as many TV ads as Moore.
Project Veritas: In a failed attempt to paint Washington Post journalists as biased, a conservative media group tried to convince the Post that, decades ago, Moore impregnated a woman. The sting made major waves Monday night, as the Post had vetted the accuser thoroughly — and it backfired badly for Project Veritas.
CFPB crisis: Monday saw a duel over leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency tasked with protecting consumers from predatory financial practices. Here’s why you need to care about who is running the Obama-era agency.
“Pocahontas,” again: At an event Monday honoring Native Americans, Trump stood in front of a portrait of former President Andrew Jackson and called a member of Congress “Pocahontas.” Trump was referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said at a press conference Monday he is sorry for what he did that led to four women accusing him of sexual misconduct. The largest newspaper in Minnesota said Franken’s apology “fails the full candor test.” Meanwhile, a second woman accused Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) of sexual harassment.
Under the radar:
Time Inc.: A day after a sale backed by the Koch brothers, the New York Times reported employees are nervous of what’s next. Weekly magazines, including Time, Fortune, Money and People, could all be sold off. The National Enquirer is reportedly interested in purchasing Time.
“Black identity extremists:” The nation’s largest black police organization said the FBI using that label is ill-advised.
The first Sikh mayor of a New Jersey city explains why he believes diversity is key for government in the U.S. Click or tap the video below to watch.