The Note: Huuuge tax bill could have “big league” impact

The Note: Huuuge tax bill could have “big league” impact

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.


  • The Senate voted to pass Republicans’ ambitious $1.5 trillion rewrite of the tax code. The Senate bill was passed along party lines, 51-48, in a vote that didn’t come down until 12:45 a.m. ET.
  • Now, the House of Representatives will vote on the tax overhaul bill again today, after voting earlier Tuesday to also approve the measure, because of a late technical objection by the Senate parliamentarian to three provisions of the legislation that violated the Byrd Rule.
  • President Trump announced on Twitter he’ll hold a news conference at the White House at “approximately 1:00 p.m.” ET.
  • President Donald Trump holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room at 11:30 a.m. ET.
  • United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will testify on the state of education in America on Capitol Hill at 2:00 p.m. ET.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) holds a conference call briefing, beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET to announce finalist concepts for a future robotic mission to explore the solar system.

    “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.


  • ANALYSIS: Republican tax cut trades economic populism for legislative win. A majority that’s been defined by inaction will now be defined by action – a far-reaching and partisan action with unpredictable political consequences. (Rick Klein)
  • Senate Republicans pass sweeping tax measure, bill returns to House after snafu. The Senate voted early Wednesday to pass Republicans’ ambitious $1.5 trillion rewrite of the tax code, moving one step closer to achieving their first major legislative victory under President Donald Trump. (John Parkinson, Benjamin Siegel, and Mariam Khan)
  • Blue state Republicans vote against tax bill. Twelve House Republicans, including 11 who hail from districts in states won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, voted against the GOP’s ambitious $1.5 trillion measure that rewrites the nation’s tax code. (John Verhovek)
  • Congress details some payouts to sexual harassment accusers. The Congressional office that has been using taxpayer funds to secretly settle cases of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill lifted the veil on a sliver of data Tuesday, showing that between 2007 and 2017 it paid out $115,000 to staffers who had filed workplace sexual harassment complaints while employed by a member of the House of Representatives. (Justin Fishel)
  • Age of undocumented immigrant alters government’s case against abortion. The Trump administration’s abortion court battles continued this week when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) argued to block two undocumented teens from terminating their pregnancies while in HHS custody. (Geneva Sands)
  • Michigan doctor wants to be the first Muslim governor in US history. Abdul El-Sayed says America is ready for its first Muslim governor. He’s thrown his hat in the ring in his home state of Michigan, banking on his advocacy for progressive policies like a single payer health care and legalizing marijuana to reap the tax benefits. (Amna Nawaz and Alyssa Lapertosa)
  • The New York Times reports on parents begging for Congress’ help because the Children’s Health Insurance Program is out of money.
  • The New York Times reports on yet another person under scrutiny by the Senate Intelligence Committee with ties to the Russia Probe… this time it’s 2016 Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein.
  • 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.


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