The Open Thread for September 27, 2017

According to Axios, top White House and GOP leaders have agreed to raise the lowest individual tax rate from 10 to 12 percent, while cutting taxes on the rich.  Yes, that’s right.  They are raising taxes on the poor and middle class in order to give the wealthy more money.

“The tax plan being presented to GOP members over the next couple of days — as soon as this afternoon to senators — isn’t likely to include tough policy decisions about revenue raisers,” according to Axios.  Said one GOP lobbyist: “All of the goodies and none of the vegetables.”

“Although there’s disagreement about how much individual and corporate tax rates should be lowered, almost every Republican is going to be happy with tax cuts and lower rates. The painful decisions come in when members are forced to decide about revenue-raising policies — for example, whether to eliminate or reduce the state and local tax deduction, which Bloomberg reported this morning is already hitting blue-state Republican resistance.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “is laying down the same marker on tax legislation as he did on health care, demanding regular order and support from both parties — a stance that has proved pivotal in thwarting Senate Republican efforts to undo Obamacare,” Bloomberg reports.

Said McCain: “We need to do it in a bipartisan fashion. I am committed, as I’ve said before, to a bipartisan approach, such as we’ve been doing in the Armed Services Committee for the last 53 years.”



“Roy Moore, a firebrand former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, overcame efforts by top Republicans to rescue his rival, Sen. Luther Strange, defeating him on Tuesday in a special primary runoff,” according to the Associated Press.

“The outcome in the closely watched Senate race dealt a humbling blow to President Trump and other party leaders days after the president pleaded with voters in the state to back Mr. Strange.”

Washington Post: “For conservative opponents of the current Republican leadership, the victory was a godsend — literally, for many — and a validation of the larger effort to replace the current leadership of the Republican Party with a more populist crowd.”

“The stunning defeat of President Trump’s chosen Senate candidate in Alabama on Tuesday amounted to a political lightning strike — setting the stage for a worsening Republican civil war that could have profound effects on next year’s midterm elections and undermine Trump’s clout with his core voters,” the Washington Post reports.

“The GOP primary victory by conservative firebrand Roy Moore over Sen. Luther Strange could also produce a stampede of Republican retirements in the coming months and an energized swarm of challengers.”

Axios: Sen. Bob Corker, a mainstream Republican, announced his retirement today, and several other sitting Republicans are facing primary challengers from the right. So will there be a populist surge in 2018 GOP primaries?”


The U.S. Senate will not vote on the latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare, sources tell CNN.

“The decision is another blow to President Trump’s attempts to repeal Obamacare, a long-time Republican campaign promise and a centerpiece of his legislative agenda. Trump is now also floating the idea of working with Democrats on changes to the health care law, repeating his budget deal he reached earlier this month.”

Washington Post: “Top Republicans, however, also indicated they have little interest in shoring up the existing insurance market operating under the 2010 law. Instead, they suggested, the ongoing instability would backfire on Democrats and build momentum for the ACA’s eventual repeal.”



In Virginia, a new Wason Center poll in Virginia finds Ralph Northam (D) leading Ed Gillespie (R) in the governor’s race by six points, 47% to 41%. Another poll from Monmouth shows Northam ahead of Gillespie, 49% to 44%.

In New Jersey, a new USA Today/Suffolk poll shows Phil Murphy (D) with a nearly 20 percent point lead over Kim Guadagno (R) in the race for governor, 44% to 25%. Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Christie (R) continues to suffer from a historic low 16% approval rating while 74% disapprove

A new ABC News-Washington Post poll finds 86% of Americans support a right to residency for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, with support crossing the political spectrum. Two-thirds back a deal to enact such legislation in tandem with higher funding for border control. The same poll finds that 65% of Americans feel large corporations pay too little in taxes. “Given what the public knows about it, they opposes Trump’s tax plan by 44% to 28%, with a substantial 28% undecided. Half of those polled expect the administration’s plan to reduce taxes on the wealthy, while just 10% think it’ll reduce taxes on the middle class. A quarter expect equal treatment.



“The Environmental Protection Agency is spending nearly $25,000 to construct a secure, soundproof communications booth in the office of Administrator Scott Pruitt,” the Washington Post reports.

“Typically, such soundproof booths are used to conduct hearing tests. But the EPA sought a customized version — one that eventually would cost almost several times more than a typical model — that Pruitt can use to communicate without fear of being monitored.”


“North Korean government officials have been quietly trying to arrange talks with Republican-linked analysts in Washington, in an apparent attempt to make sense of President Trump and his confusing messages to Kim Jong Un’s regime,” the Washington Post reports.

“The outreach began before the current eruption of threats between the two leaders but will probably become only more urgent as Trump and Kim have descended into name-calling that, many analysts worry, sharply increases the chances of potentially catastrophic misunderstandings.”

Said one Republican: “Their number one concern is Trump. They can’t figure him out.”



Politico: “Frustrated with West Wing aides’ rampant use of personal communications devices for official business, former chief of staff Reince Priebus tried over the summer to stop – or at least limit – the practice. During a July senior staff meeting, Priebus asked aides to store their personal phones in secure lockers in the White House or either leave them at home during the workday, according to people who attended. The administration subsequently installed additional lockers, typically only found outside secure rooms, in the West Wing, as part of an effort to force aides to use their White House accounts for communications.”

“But the request was largely ignored, according to six current and former administration officials, advisers and others who correspond with White House. Aides laughed about Priebus’ request, and senior officials — including Priebus — continued to use their personal phones for phone calls, text messages and emails for White House matters.”



HHS Secretary Tom Price “took a government-funded private jet in August to get to St. Simons Island, an exclusive Georgia resort where he and his wife own land, a day and a half before he addressed a group of local doctors at a medical conference that he and his wife have long attended,” Politico reports.

“The St. Simons Island trip was one of two taxpayer-funded flights on private jets in which Price traveled to places where he owns property, and paired official visits with meetings with longtime colleagues and family members.”


“The IRS is now sharing information with special counsel Robert Mueller about key Trump campaign officials, after the two entities clashed this summer over both the scope of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and a raid on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home,” people briefed on the matter tell CNN.

“Part of the concern centered on the far-reaching and broad requests from Mueller’s team. In the case of Manafort, Mueller’s investigators are reaching back 11 years as they investigate possible tax and financial crimes, according to search warrant documents.”

“After several months of being at odds, one source said, the IRS Criminal Investigation division is now sharing information about campaign associates, including Manafort and former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.”



“With the collapse of the GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Tuesday he is restarting bipartisan talks to stabilize health insurance markets and bring down premiums,” the Tennessean reports.

Alexander said he will consult with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and other Republicans and Democrats “to see if senators can find consensus on a limited bipartisan plan that could be enacted into law to help lower premiums and make insurance available to the 18 million Americans in the individual market in 2018 and 2019.”

David Nather: “There’s still no guarantee that they can get a deal — Alexander wants to give states more freedom from ACA rules than Murray does. But the fact that Alexander is willing to restart the talks, after walking away from them last week during the Graham-Cassidy effort, could be a sign that the repeal bill’s failure is reviving the prospects for ‘fixing’ the ACA.”


“Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the beneficiary of at least one Russian-bought ad on Facebook that federal government officials suspect were intended to influence the 2016 election,” Politicoreports.

“Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended, according to a person with knowledge of the ads.”


Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

7 comments on “The Open Thread for September 27, 2017

  1. Hmmm… Trump and the Republican elite take a hard right to the jaw with the election of the arch holy roller Roy Moore, they should have seen it coming in a far right backwater like Alabama. Moore will be a thorn in McConnell’s side and an embarrassment to the Republicans in general at some point, especially if he plays the “god’s law” game and asserts his religion takes precedence over federal law. It will also put the Republicans from red states in a bind when asked if they agree with Moore, I expect some artful dodging when it occurs.

  2. Well, this is sad news, I guess we could kiss Amazon goodbye.

    • I doubt Jeff Bezos puts much stock in crackpot anti-tax organizations. Don’t you conservative suckers ever realize when you’re being gulled?

    • Thanks for the link! It’s a tragedy that we don’t have the will to fix this.

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