👋 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/ The House passed tax reform today, but will have to vote again tomorrow after the Senate parliamentarian said three provisions violated the Byrd Rule and would have to be removed from the bill. Senate Republicans plan to vote on the measure tonight with the provisions removed, which would require the House to revote on the measure tomorrow, since both chambers must pass identical bills. The House initially passed the bill in a 227-203 vote with all but 12 Republicans voting for the bill. No Democrats supported it. Trump is expected to sign the Tax Cuts And Jobs Act into law before the end of the week. The bill will add $1.5 trillion to the federal debt over the next decade as it cuts tax rates for corporations, provides new breaks for private businesses, and reorganizes the individual tax code. The legislation also repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate that most Americans buy health insurance coverage or face a fine. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)
What’s in the final Republican tax bill. The legislation would cut taxes for corporations. Taxpayers in large part would receive temporary tax cuts that expire after 2025. (New York Times)
The GOP tax bill will impact large, high-tax, high-cost-of-living cities most by capping the state and local income and property deductions at $10,000. Capping the benefit will potentially expose residents of those areas to a higher tax liability and reduce their property values. (Politico)
Senator Mark Warner called the GOP tax plan “the single worst piece of legislation that I’ve seen.” (CNBC)
2/ The GOP tax bill will lower taxes for 95% of Americans in 2018, but within a decade 53% of Americans will pay more in taxes under the plan with 82.8% of the bill’s benefit going to the top 1%. In 2018, the highest earners on average will receive a larger tax cut than those making less. Those earning between $49,000 and $86,000 will receive an average cut of about $900, or roughly 1%. Those earning more than $733,000 would receive a cut of about $51,000, or roughly 6.9%. (Washington Post / Vox)
3/ Trump’s new campaign slogan is “How’s your 401(k) doing?” More than half of Americans don’t have one. (Bloomberg)
4/ Trump considered rescinding Neil Gorsuch’s nomination after the Supreme Court pick said he found Trump’s repeated attacks on the federal judiciary “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” Trump called the report “FAKE NEWS” on Twitter. (Washington Post)
5/ Members of Robert Mueller’s team believe their investigation will continue through 2018. White House lawyers were expected to meet with Mueller later this week in hopes of a sign that Mueller’s focus on Trump is nearing its end. White House lawyers said they’ll cooperate with Mueller despite Trump and his allies have recently accused the Justice Department and FBI of bias and overreach. (Washington Post)
poll/ 55% of Americans oppose the Republican tax reform bill with 66% saying the bill does more to help the wealthy than the middle class. (CNN)
poll/ 23% of Americans say “fake news” is the second more annoying phrase in 2017. “Whatever” was the most annoying phrase. (Marist)
The Senate Banking Committee rejected Trump’s nominee for the Export-Import Bank. Scott Garrett once called the institution “corporate welfare” and tried to have it shut down. (Bloomberg)
Tim Kaine’s request for data on Senate sexual harassment claims was rejected. The Office of Compliance said “confidentiality provisions” means that “the OOC does not possess reliable information regarding the number of sexual harassment claims that have been filed or settled.” (Politico)
The EPA terminated its contract with a GOP opposition research firm after Senate Democrats said Definers Public Affairs’ close ties to the GOP “presents an appearance of impropriety to which you as administrator should never be a party.” (The Hill)
Connecticut will close its health care program for low- and middle-income children on January 31st unless Congress provides new federal funding. Congress let the Children’s Health Insurance Program lapse in September, which provides insurance for nearly 9 million children nationwide. (The Hill)
The Senate Intelligence Committee is looking at Jill Stein for potential “collusion with the Russians.” The Green Party candidate attended a 2015 dinner in Moscow, which was also attended by Michael Flynn. Putin was seated next to Flynn and across the table from Stein. (Washington Post)
Control of the Virginia legislature came down to a single vote with the Republican seat getting flipped Democratic in a 11,608 to 11,607 vote. (Washington Post)
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