👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ Trump unveils his plan to overhaul the tax code. The proposal — a one-page outline that leaves key details incomplete — would eliminate key tax breaks and reduce the number of income tax brackets from seven to three. It would also lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. (Washington Post)
- Trump’s tax plan would cut corporate and small business rates and boost the standard deduction to $15,000 for individuals and $30,000 for families. The proposed plan could potentially put thousands of dollars each year into the pockets of tens of millions of Americans, but could lead to a large loss of government revenue and bloat the federal deficit. (Washington Post)
2/ The White House trumpets its tax cuts as the “biggest in history.” It’s unclear how the cuts would be financed, although the administration noted that the proposed cuts could dramatically add to the national debt. (New York Times)
- Trump’s goal of reducing the corporate tax rate has a fatal problem: Senate rules. (CNN)
- Trump’s tax plan extends the corporate tax cut from mom-and-pop businesses to his own real estate empire. (New York Times)
3/ House Republicans gather to revive their Obamacare repeal. The latest proposal, which came late Tuesday, is a compromise designed to corral skittish Republicans reluctant to support earlier versions of the proposal. The new language allows states to opt out of some Obamacare protections as long as they offer an alternative that lowers premiums and increases the number of people insured. The plan retains Obamacare’s guarantee of “access” to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, but allows states to waive the prohibition on charging sick people higher premiums. (Politico)
- Republicans are far from repealing Obamacare as nobody is sure the House has actually found a compromise that can pass. (Vox)
- Latest GOP health bill amendment would exempt members of Congress from its effects. Democrats argue that Republicans are willing to take away protections for the general public, but not themselves. (The Hill)
4/ Lawmakers are leaning toward passing a one-week funding extension to avoid a shutdown. In the meantime, the White House said it would continue paying Affordable Care Act cost-sharing subsidies. (Politico)
5/ Trump attacks “ridiculous” 9th circuit judge who blocked his order to deny federal funding to “sanctuary cities.” Judge William Orrick doesn’t sit on the 9th circuit. He sits on the court of the Northern District of California, which appeals to the 9th circuit. (Politico)
6/ US missile defense system moved to a deployment site in South Korea, triggering protests from villagers and criticism from China. The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system will be used to defend against missiles launched by North Korea. China says the system’s advanced radar can penetrate deep into its territory and undermine its security, while it will do little to deter the North. (Reuters)
7/ The administration is considering an executive order to withdraw from NAFTA. A draft has been submitted for review and could be a hardball negotiating tactic designed to bring Mexico and Canada to the table to renegotiate NAFTA. (Politico)
- Trump loses trade dispute with Mexico over dolphin safe tuna. The World Trade Organization ruled in Mexico’s favor that its fishermen played by the rules, allowing it to impose sanctions worth $163 million a year against the US. Related, Trump’s decision to go after Canada first with tariffs was surprising given his harsh criticism of Mexico on the campaign. Now Trump has upset Canada while suffering a trade defeat from Mexico. (CNN Money)
8/ Trump triggers a review of national monument designations, which protect more than a billion acres of US public land and waters. The designation of monuments could be “rescinded, modified or resized” as part of the review. (The Guardian)
- Trump is expected to sign an executive order aimed at opening up protected waters in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans to offshore drilling. (New York Times)
9/ The Senate confirms the deputy attorney general who will now be in charge of the Russia probe. Rod Rosenstein takes over the high-profile inquiry and will make the decision on whether to appoint an outside prosecutor. (NBC News)
10/ Trump and his top national security advisers briefed congressional lawmakers on the “very grave threat” posed by North Korea. The administration has developed a range of economic, diplomatic, and military measures in the wake of a series of provocations from Kim Jong Un. There was no talk about a preemptive strike on North Korea. The approach would be “mainly events-driven.” (Washington Post)
poll/ 56% think Russia tried to influence the election, and 39% think the Trump campaign intentionally tried to assist such an effort. (ABC News)
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