National

The Open Thread for November 28, 2017

“It’s do-or-die time for Senate Republicans on tax reform. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn’t appear to have locked down 50 votes for his party’s tax overhaul, with at least half a dozen GOP senators showing varying levels of concern about the legislation released earlier this month,” Politico reports.

“Yet the GOP leadership has a narrow window to push through its tax bill in the Senate before lawmakers become consumed with spending fights that could trigger a shutdown, not to mention a special election in Alabama that could flip a reliable Republican vote to a not-so-reliable one — or even a Democrat.”

Playbook: “If the Senate can get its tax bill through this week, there’s a good chance Congress could get a bill to President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the year. Everything would need to fall into place, but it’s possible. If the Senate takes more than just this week to get it done, it will likely slip into next year.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told WISC-TV that he still intends to vote against a tax reform measure in Congress unless changes are made.  Said Johnson: “We are working diligently to fix the problems. If we develop a fix prior to committee, I will vote yes.  If not, I will vote no.”

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) told about 100 constituents at a town hall meeting that he’s still undecided on the GOP tax bill, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.  Said Moran: “I’m also cognizant of what people saw happen in Kansas. The issue of tax cuts would be easier if you actually had faith that Congress would hold the line on spending. It’s two components. It’s how much revenue you take in and how much money you continue to spend.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tells the Wall Street Journal that he’s undecided on the Senate tax bill and has concerns about “a lot of things” in the plan.  Politico reports GOP leaders are still “trying to appease at least a half-dozen holdouts.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that “he could oppose his party’s tax bill over deficit concerns in an expected Senate Budget Committee vote this week, but added that Republicans were working to resolve his concerns,” Reuters reports.   Said Corker: “I’m not threatening anything. I’m just saying it’s very important for me to know that we’ve got this resolved.”  Asked if he could vote “no” on the tax bill at a committee hearing slated for Tuesday, he replied: “Very possible. Yeah. Sure.”

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“The Senate Republican tax plan gives substantial tax cuts and benefits to Americans earning more than $100,000 a year, while the nation’s poorest would be worse off, according to a report released Sunday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office,” the Washington Post reports.

“By 2019, Americans earning less than $30,000 a year would be worse off under the Senate bill, CBO found. By 2021, Americans earning $40,000 or less would be net losers, and by 2027, most people earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off. On the flip side, millionaires and those earning $100,000 to $500,000 would be big beneficiaries, according to CBO calculations.”

“The main reason the poor get hit so hard in the Senate GOP bill is because the poor would receive less government aid for health care.”

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Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, on Monday instructed agency staff to disregard directions from Leandra English, who was named acting director by the former head of the agency, Reuters reports.

Axios reports Mulvaney showed up to work with donuts for the staff.

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“Lawmakers are facing mounting pressure to end Capitol Hill’s culture of secrecy over sexual harassment as they return from a holiday break, with members of both parties calling for Congress to overhaul its handling of misconduct claims and to unmask lawmakers who have paid settlements using taxpayer money,” the New York Times reports.

”The House is expected this week to adopt a bipartisan resolution mandating that all members and their staffs participate in anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training; the Senate has already adopted such a resolution. The more difficult task will be passing legislation that overhauls the way sexual harassment claims are handled.”

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“House Speaker Paul Ryan has spent much of his political career warning against the pitfalls of deficit spending and government debt,” Bloomberg reports.  “But that argument has been bent in service to another long-held priority, one that has political urgency for Republicans trying to hang on to their congressional majorities: tax cuts.”

“The tax overhaul legislation that Ryan shepherded through the House — the Senate takes up its version this week — would add at least $1 trillion to budget deficits over the next decade, even when accounting for economic growth, according to independent tax analysts. Ryan’s willingness to look past that, and his ability to successfully persuade his members that these analyses are flawed, shows how important the tax measure has become to Republicans.”

Charlie Sykes: Whatever happened to the party of fiscal responsibility?

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President Trump will not campaign for Roy Moore (R) before the December 12 Senate election in Alabama, the AP reports.  Nonetheless, Trump has essentially given Moore his endorsement by urging Alabamians not to vote for Doug Jones (D).

Meanwhile, Lee Busby, a retired Marine colonel who once served as a top aide to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, “plans to launch a long-shot write-in campaign Monday afternoon to become Alabama’s next senator, with just 15 days left in the campaign,” the Washington Post reports. Said Busby: “I think you can flip this thing. If this were a military operation, the left flank and the right flank are heavily guarded. I think that gives you an opportunity to run straight up the middle.”

“Either we’re saddled with a Democrat in a seat that ought to be Republican or we’re saddled with a brand anvil that’s going to drag down the president, drag down the Senate, drag down the party and plunge the Senate into immediate turmoil when he gets there.” — Republican strategist Scott Jennings, quoted by the New York Times, on Roy Moore’s (R) Senate candidacy in Alabama.

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A progressive coalition, Not One Penny, tomorrow will begin a “six-figure” TV buy (mostly on Fox News, and including “Fox & Friends”) for this 30-second ad hitting the Republican tax plans.

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“The lawyer for President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn met Monday morning with members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, the latest indication that both sides are discussing a possible plea deal,” ABC News reports.

“That process would typically include a series of off-the-record discussions in which prosecutors lay out in detail for Flynn and his lawyers the fruits of their investigation into his activities. Prosecutors would also provide Flynn an opportunity to offer what’s called a ‘proffer,’ detailing what information, if any, he has that could implicate others in wrongdoing.”

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“You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”

— President Trump, quoted by USA Today, referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) while hosting a Native American war heroes event.

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“In June 2015, retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn took a little-noticed trip to Egypt and Israel, paid for by a U.S. company he was advising. The company hoped to build more than two dozen nuclear plants in the region in partnership with Russian interests,” the Washington Post reports.

“Flynn’s quiet involvement in that project — and his failure to disclose his ties to the effort — could complicate the legal issues facing President Trump’s former national security adviser, who has signaled he may be willing to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.”

“Congressional Democrats say that Flynn may have violated federal law by failing to disclose the Middle Eastern trip in his security clearance renewal application in 2016. A top House Republican declined the Democrats’ request for a congressional inquiry but referred the allegations to the special counsel.”

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If Trump were Nixon, or anyone else but Trump, it could happen. But he is Trump, so it won’t.

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“Bernie Sanders is taking steps to address longstanding political shortcomings that were exposed in 2016, ahead of another possible presidential bid in 2020,” Politico reports.

“From forging closer ties to the labor movement to shoring up his once-flimsy foreign policy credentials, the moves have provided the senator inroads into party power structures that largely shunned him in favor of Hillary Clinton last year. They’ve also empowered the progressive icon to harness his newfound political power and help Democrats fight President Trump’s administration.”

There is only one really important step he should take: join the Democratic Party.  If he does not, he will not get my vote under any circumstances.

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Mike Allen: “Capitol Hill veterans expect that ‘a lot more’ sexual-harassment settlements by lawmakers will be uncovered. So now there’s a race to strengthen workplace rules that are scandalously archaic.”

“The existing system is a racket. Settlements are secret, and the Ethics Committee is notorious for protecting its own. We — as in all of us taxpayers — pay the hush money, because that’s who foots the bills for these settlements. Only a few lawmakers have publicly pushed for broad, quick change.”

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“A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets,” the Washington Post reports.

“In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.”

The Post did not publish an article based on her unsubstantiated account. When Post reporters confronted her with inconsistencies in her story and an Internet posting that raised doubts about her motivations, she insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists. But on Monday morning, Post reporters saw her walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups.”

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“A Democratic tidal wave on Election Day in Virginia three weeks ago has left chaos in its wake, with control of the House of Delegates still undecided and no end in sight to the dispute,” the AP reports.

“Lawsuits, threats and recriminations are flying as the state wrestles with the tricky question of what to do about the 147 voters in and around a crucial district who were given the wrong ballots.”

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

8 comments on “The Open Thread for November 28, 2017

  1. cassandram

    Very interesting that the Politico (oy) article on Bernie fails to mention Our Revolution’s failure to be a serious factor in the recent D gains.

  2. I really wish Sanders would find a younger successor.

    • It’s insane to me that the young progressive movement is so enamored with this one fuckin guy. They decry the cult of personality that is the Trumpist movement… then turn around and not trust anyone but an old white man who has spent his career in a save liberal state. I like the guy… but he is like any other politician to me, just a tool.. and he’s a really old model. People think that since he was the Runner up, it is his turn….. When you lose a primary election, it doesnt mean you get to come back and be the nominee and with the next time around. Too many people make that mistake… (looks intensely at former Dem nominees).
      But the people who will only vote for Sanders are just as FUCKING STUPID as the people who would rather have 8 years of Trump then vote for Sanders. If he is somehow the nominee… and i hope he isnt… anyone who doesnt fall in line and help defeat trump is a POS traitor.

      • cassandram

        If my FB page is any indication, it isn’t millennials that are the issue.

        Still. I expect that we will be faced with two paths in 2020 — one where someone savvy enough and strong enough to go toe to toe with GRIFTUS and build the kind of coalition to defeat him, but the younger successor problem might take another cycle to be ready.

        • agreed. Dump started running for president in 2010. There is no one on the Dem side that has even close to the national profile. Everyone not named Sanders is distrusted but the new generation of potential dem voters and there are too many Neo-Pumas waiting to re-elect Trump if Bernie does manage to shamble his way to the nomination.
          I wonder what a candidate vowing to serve one term would be able to pull off election-wise.

    • It’s not for Sanders to find his successor.

      • i know many of his fans, and have seen many more on forums and whatnot who will not trust anyone unless he gives his blessing. It’s dumb, but it’s the way things are.
        Keep in mind, these are people who would have gone for Trump if not for the racism. They are sheep who want a king… but in order to beat 45, their stupid vote is needed.

  3. Please let it be Warren. GEOTUS beats her like a rented mule.

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