👋 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 Republican tax bill passed the Senate in a 51 to 48 vote. No Democrats backed the bill. The House, forced to vote a second time on the $1.5 trillion tax bill, approved it in a 224 to 201 vote. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is expected to head to Trump’s desk in the coming days. (New York Times / Washington Post)
2/ Trump claimed the Republican tax bill “essentially repealed Obamacare.” The bill eliminates the Affordable Care Act‘s individual mandate, but Trump said “we didn’t want to bring it up” until the legislation had passed. (Bloomberg / Talking Points Memo)
3/ Trump criticized the news media for its “demeaning” coverage of tax reform. “The Tax Cuts are so large and so meaningful, and yet the Fake News is working overtime to follow the lead of their friends, the defeated Dems, and only demean,” Trump tweeted, adding: “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!” (The Hill)
4/ Sarah Huckabee Sanders attributed Trump’s low approval rating to the media’s coverage of him. The tax bill is Trump’s first legislative accomplishment since entering the White House nearly a year ago. Trump’s 35% approval rating is a historic low for a president at this point in their first term. (Washington Post)
5/ Donald Trump Jr. suggested that “people at the highest levels of government” have conspired to block his father’s agenda, saying they “don’t want to let America be America.” He added that the investigations into Russian election meddling and his father’s campaign are evidence of a “rigged system.” Trump Jr. made the comments at a gathering of young conservative activists during an event in West Palm Beach, Florida. (CNN)
6/ Congressional Democrats are stepping back from their pledge to force a vote on DACA by the end of the month. Dozens of Democrats vowed to withhold support for the Republican legislation if the GOP refused to allow a vote on the Dream Act, which would allow roughly 1.2 million immigrants to legally remain in the United States. But a group of Democrats facing reelection in conservative states next year say they aren’t willing to hold the line, which means the party will likely be unable to block the spending bill. (Washington Post)
- John Kelly met with a bipartisan group of senators to lay the groundwork for an immigration deal in January. Congressional Republicans and the White House have long said any DACA deal would need to be paired with security and other enforcement measures. (Politico)
7/ Nikki Haley told the United Nations that Trump would be “taking names” of the countries that vote against his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a letter to several countries – including US allies – Haley warned that “the president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us. We will take note of each and every vote on this issue.” (Bloomberg / The Guardian)
poll/ 79% of Americans say they’re frequently stressed out and 41% say they lack the time to do what they want. (Gallup)
poll/ 56% of voters say they’ll vote for a Democrat in the 2018 midterm election. 38% plan to vote for a Republican. (CNN)
poll/ 36% of Americans say they would vote for Trump in 2020. 38% are dead set on voting against Trump and an additional 14% say they’ll probably vote for the Democrat on the ballot. (NBC News)
Use of the “angry” button on Facebook by Democrats more than doubled since the presidential election. (Pew)
Paul Ryan called reports of his retirement ~~greatly exaggerated~~ “rank speculation.” It was previously reported that Ryan told confidants that he will not seek another term as speaker and expressed a preference for retiring shortly after next year’s midterm elections. (Politico)
France will ban the production of all oil and gas by 2040. (The Hill)
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