Tax Bill Delivered

Thursday, December 21, 2017Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 10.09.51 AM

Good Thursday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump will enter his second year in office with a major legislative achievement — the tax cut bill — which Republicans will try to sell to voters in midterm elections.

  • Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans are betting that their extensive and contested tax code rewrite will ultimately raise wages and create jobs. If they are proved correct, they will be repudiating not only historical experience but also most experts.

  • The bill is the biggest legislative achievement for Republicans since they gained full control of Congress and the White House.
  • Mr. Trump issued a threat to cut off American aid to any country that votes for a resolution at the United Nations condemning his recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

  • The tax bill headed to Mr. Trump lifts a ban on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But it might take years for drilling to begin, if it ever does.
— The First Draft Team

How the ‘Small-Business Tax Cut’ Would Also Be a Tax Cut for the Wealthy

By ALICIA PARLAPIANO
Republican lawmakers say that one of the largest tax cuts in their tax bill, a 20 percent deduction for pass-through income, is for small businesses and job creators. But there are also millions of other tax filers — many at the highest income levels — who would benefit significantly.
Read more »
The pursuit of a tax cut has dominated the career of Speaker Paul D. Ryan.
ON WASHINGTON

G.O.P. Finally Notches 2017 Victory While Bracing for 2018 Verdict

By CARL HULSE

After a year when legislative victories eluded them, Republicans secured a big one at the end. But at what cost?

The Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in Health Sciences Park in Memphis on Wednesday night after the City Council voted unanimously to sell the park, paving the way for its removal.<br /><br />

Confederate Statues in Memphis Being Removed After City Council Vote

By VIVIAN WANG

The City Council voted Wednesday to sell two public parks to a private entity, allowing the city to skirt a state law barring the removal of the memorials.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine put aside her concerns about health care funding to vote for the tax plan.

Fearful of a Shutdown, Congress Inches Toward Stopgap Spending Bill

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG AND YAMICHE ALCINDOR

An end-of-the-year showdown over issues like immigration, health care and surveillance appeared to fizzle on Wednesday.

Miguel Santiago, center, and Kevin de Leon, right, lawmakers from California, urged Congress on Wednesday to pass a replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Justices Return Dispute Over DACA Documents to Lower Courts

By ADAM LIPTAK

The Supreme Court indicated that federal courts in California had moved too fast in ordering the Trump administration to disclose documents concerning its decision to end the program.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City was in Iowa on Tuesday, where he set out to show that his brand of progressivism was a viable option for Democrats.

Bill de Blasio Wants to Be Heard. Is Anyone Listening?

By SHANE GOLDMACHER

New York City’s mayor went to Iowa to lay out his vision for the future of the Democratic Party, and to present himself as proof that progressivism sells.

Officials Weigh Sending American Detainee to Saudi Arabia

By CHARLIE SAVAGE, ERIC SCHMITT AND ADAM GOLDMAN

Security officials are exploring whether to transfer a detained U.S. citizen suspected of being an Islamic State fighter to Saudi Arabia, where he grew up.

A provision introduced by Senator Mitch McConnell in the new tax bill would have exempted Berea College from a 1.4 percent excise tax.

How a Tuition-Free College Turned Into a Casualty of the Tax Wars

By ERICA L. GREEN

In a push to embarrass Republicans and slow their tax bill, Senator Bernie Sanders stripped out a pet provision of Senator Mitch McConnell’s — and punished a college for the poor.

Justin Huang helps a client sign up for a health insurance program under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, at the offices of the Midwest Asian Health Association in the Chinatown neighborhood in Chicago last week.
FACT CHECK

Trump Falsely Claims to Have ‘Repealed Obamacare’

By LINDA QIU

The repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill, despite President Trump’s claim, does not amount to a repeal of the entire health care law.

A steel plant in Granite City, Ill. The administration asserts that expanding the industrial sector will create high-paying, blue-collar jobs.

Republican Economic Policies Put Business First

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM AND ANA SWANSON

President Trump’s approach to economic policy is to help business as a way to help workers, a theory that will be put to the test with the passage of the $1.5 trillion tax plan.

Democrats Are Pulling Away in the Generic Ballot. What Does That Mean?

By NATE COHN

The party’s advantage has ballooned over the last few months, improving its outlook for retaking the House.

The United States announced sanctions on Wednesday against Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, citing alleged human rights abuses and involvement in criminal conspiracies.

U.S. Punishes Chechen Leader in New Sanctions Against Russians

By ALAN RAPPEPORT

Sanctions could be a sign the Trump administration is heightening pressure on some Russians despite a more accommodating tone with President Vladimir V. Putin.

Lawyers for an accused Russian hacker, Pyotr Y. Levashov, leaving court after his extradition hearing in Madrid in July.

A New Russian Ploy: Competing Extradition Requests

By ANDREW E. KRAMER

Moscow is seeking to block U.S. trials of cybercriminals by trying to extradite them to Russia for crimes allegedly committed years before.

STATE OF THE ART

What the Tax Bill Fails to Address: Technology’s Tsunami

By FARHAD MANJOO

Technology is changing everything about how Americans work, but the industry is left largely unscathed by the Republican tax bill that Congress took up this week.

“The internet is a big part of my life,” said Anooha Dasari, 16, a high school junior, adding that the repeal of net neutrality is “dangerous.”

In Protests of Net Neutrality Repeal, Teenage Voices Stood Out

By CECILIA KANG

Young people who have grown up knowing only an open internet organized rallies, streamed the F.C.C. vote in class — and say they plan to keep fighting.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
Ned Ryun in The Hill:
“[ …] the questions about Mueller’s team and its motivations are little more than a prelude to the far more important question: Is this entire investigation into the fairy tale of Trump-Russia collusion in 2016 even legitimate?”
Mr. Ryun takes the argument against Mr. Mueller’s team one step further and suggests that the entire investigation into Russian collusion in the election is premised on faulty evidence and a “fake dossier.” The real scandal, he argues, is “the actions of the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice in the use of the Fusion G.P.S. dossier to open their investigations and the role former F.B.I. Director James Comey and his colleague Peter Strzok played in nullifying the Clinton national security investigation.” Read more »
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From the Left
John Nichols in The Nation:
“If Trump fires Mueller, as many now speculate is possible, the United States will find itself in a constitutional crisis […]”
If President Trump fires the special counsel, Mr. Nichols thinks that citizens who want to protest should have a very specific goal in mind: to compel Congress to impeach. House Democrats in particular should make it known “their response to the firing of Mueller would be an absolute and unequivocal demand for the impeachment of Donald Trump.” Read more »
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