The TAKE with Rick Klein
The win might be the biggest and the best, the most incredible and most unbelievable thing to ever happen in American politics.
It rattled the gavel off of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s podium. (And it was so much fun for House Republicans, they get to do it all over again today.)
But when President Donald Trump does get to sign the tax overhaul into law, the battle to define the accomplishment begins – with Trump and his fellow Republicans in a hole.
The bill falls short of its original promises. It’s widely unpopular. Doing your taxes will still be hard. It won’t pay for itself.
Lots of people will pay more in taxes. Many more will see modest tax cuts. And yes, the president himself is likely to benefit, big league – if he’d ever release his taxes to prove that one way or the other.
In assessing Republicans’ political prospects next year, Ryan told The Wall Street Journal yesterday: “We’ve got the wind at our face.”
The Republican hope is that this bill does more than block some wind. The relative calm with which this bill is moving toward becoming law may be covering up substantial turmoil behind it.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
There is evidence of a trend emerging. In at least one realm of governing, Senate Republicans seem to be pushing back and claiming a touch of independence from the White House.
In the last few days, three Trump administration judicial nominations have fallen apart, and yesterday two Republicans in the Senate Banking Committee joined Democrats and blocked the White House’s choice to lead to the Export-Import bank too.
It seems some Republicans draw the line at a nominee’s apparent incompetence, others at a nominee’s disregard for the institution they were tapped to run.
It was a Republican, Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., who came ready to make a point and embarrassed a Trump judicial nominee last week who was unable to answer basic legal questions. Kennedy’s performance art/presentation of evidence went viral and that pick for the U.S. District Court bench withdrew his nomination.
“We’re doing our job,” Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said after voting against the choice for the Export-Import bank. (That nominee did not exactly apologize for his previous comments about wanting to shutter the bank during his confirmation testimony.)
Rounds tried to give the White House some cover on this growing issue and acknowledged that the team is trying to fill a lot of slots quickly. “But that doesn’t mean they’re infallible,” Rounds went on and that seemed to be putting it kindly.
The TIP with Jordyn Phelps and Megan Hughes
Christmas at the White House in the eyes of President Donald Trump has been a “big” and “merry” affair in his first year on the job.
“I told you that we would be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again, right?” the president told his adoring fans at recent speech in Missouri.
The Trumps are saying it with a dizzying flurry of Christmas-themed events that have packed the presidential mansion throughout the month of December.
First lady Melania Trump expects to host and attend with her husband approximately 20 holiday receptions, her office says. She will also throw the doors open to roughly 25 thousand guests who will shuffle through the festive state floor in addition to 100 open houses expected by the end of the year.
“The First Lady has seen to every detail,” Mrs. Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham told ABC News. Planning began in June, she said.
Decking the halls took a small army. More than 150 volunteers and White House staff wrapped 53 Christmas trees with 18 thousand feet of twinkle lights and hung more than 12,000 ornaments on their branches, according to the first lady’s office.
Doors and windows across White House grounds are adorned with 71 wreaths. And from the White House kitchen, pastry chefs cut and decorated 31 thousand Christmas cookies and assembled a candy-studded 350-pound gingerbread version of the presidential mansion.
It took a combined 1,600 hours of labor to get 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the Christmas spirit, according to the White House.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“How can Republicans defend this? The only people who want it are their very wealthy paymasters who seem to run the Republican party these days, and they’re running it into the ground.” – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Republicans who support the tax overhaul bill Tuesday.
NEED TO READ
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.