November, 2017

Senate Votes to Advance GOP Tax Bill

The U.S. Senate voted to proceed with debate on the Republican tax bill, 52 to 48, in a party line vote, the New York Times reports.

Axios: “Republican leadership wants to pass the bill by the end of the week. There will be up to 20 hours of debate and votes on a series of amendments prior to the final vote. The House has already passed a different tax bill and, should the Senate pass its bill, they will have to agree on a compromise package.”

For members: How the GOP Tax Bill Might Still Be Derailed

Rendering Reality Irrelevant

Greg Sargent: “But such incredulity misses the deeper significance of this stuff. The brazenness of it is the whole point — his utter shamelessness itself is meant to achieve his goal. In any given case, Trump is not trying to persuade anyone of anything as much as he is trying to render reality irrelevant, and reduce the pursuit of agreement on it to just another part of the circus. He’s asserting a species of power — the power to evade constraints normally imposed by empirically verifiable facts, by expectations of consistency, and even by what reasoned inquiry deems merely credible. The more brazen or shameless, the more potent is the assertion of power.”

Ryan Nixes Fundraiser to Punish Congressman

Speaker Paul Ryan “scratched plans for a fund-raiser on Wednesday that was to benefit the re-election campaign of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), after Mr. Zeldin voted against the sweeping tax overhaul that cleared the House earlier this month,” the New York Times reports.

“Several people familiar with the planning for the fund-raiser said the cancellation was designed to punish Mr. Zeldin, who not only voted against the bill but was outspoken about one aspect: the elimination of the federal deduction for state and local taxes, which particularly impacts high-tax states like New York.”

Gutierrez Weighs Possible Presidential Bid

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who announced this week that he will not run for re-election, told Politico that he is not retiring and is thinking about running for president in 2020.

Said Gutierrez: “I will be reaching out to people across the country. I am going to take the steps to guarantee FEC regulations and rules about campaign financing, first and foremost, make sure I’m following the law…  I want to build something national.”

Gutiérrez said he and his wife plan to tour the country over the next six months.

‘Donald Trump Is a Madman’

A New York Daily News editorial:

After his latest spasm of deranged tweets, only those completely under his spell can deny what growing numbers of Americans have long suspected: The President of the United States is profoundly unstable. He is mad. He is, by any honest layman’s definition, mentally unwell and viciously lashing out.

Some might say we are just suffering through the umpteenth canny, calculated presidential eruption designed to distract the nation from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, or perhaps from unpopular legislation working its way through Congress.

Quite possible. But Occam’s razor, and the sheer strangeness of Trump’s behavior, leads us to conclude that we are witnessing signs of mania.

Brooks Says Moore Accuser Is a Liar

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said that a woman who accused Roy Moore (R) of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 is “clearly a liar,” CNN reports.

Said Brooks: “What you have is the mainstream leftwing socialist Democrat news media trying to distort the evidence to cause people to reach the conclusion that Roy Moore engaged in unlawful conduct with a minor and my analysis of the evidence is that is not the case.”

It Could All Come Down to John McCain

New York Times: “After sinking his party’s hopes of repealing the Affordable Care Act this year with a dramatic thumbs-down, the fate of a tax overhaul may now sit in the hands of the Republican from Arizona. In recent days, Mr. McCain has been fairly tight-lipped about his views on the tax proposal speeding through the Senate, saying he sees some problems with the existing bill but is waiting for a final plan before making a decision. Asked about what concerned him about the Senate tax bill this week, Mr. McCain replied tersely: ‘A lot of things.’”

“Even those who know Mr. McCain best are unsure how he will vote, but if history is any guide, Republicans have reason to worry. Mr. McCain has voted against big tax cuts before, including two that passed under another Republican president: George W. Bush.”