Budget & Taxes

Tax Bill Is Only as Popular as Trump

Amy Walter: “For all the spinning and posturing there remains a fundamental challenge for the Republicans: the tax bill won’t become more popular unless the president becomes more popular. In fact, if you look at national support for the tax legislation, you will see that it lines up almost exactly with voters’ overall perception of the president.”

“In other words, if you like the president, you like the tax reform legislation. If you don’t like Trump, you either don’t like the bill or you are undecided about it. It is a reminder that whatever the president touches carries his polarizing brand.”

“Even as voters are overwhelmingly positive about the economy, it doesn’t translate to their opinions of the president or the tax law.”

GOP Faces New Shutdown Threat from Within

“Congress is a week away from another government shutdown. And if it happens this time, the blame may lie with Republicans, who are struggling to keep their lawmakers in line,” Politico reports.

“Republicans have considered a stopgap funding bill that could run one month or possibly deeper into March… Discussions have been fluid, however, as House and Senate Republicans gather this week in West Virginia for their annual retreat. The House could vote as soon as Tuesday, two days before funding runs dry. But many rank-and-file GOP lawmakers who reluctantly backed the last temporary funding bill, including conservatives and defense hawks, are balking at yet another patch.”

Koch Will Spend $20 Million to Promote Tax Law

“After spending $20 million to push the tax-code overhaul through Congress, the influential Koch network is planning to spend up to another $20 million to educate the public about the benefits of the new law,” the Washington Post reports.

“The network views the education campaign, which will launch in February, as key to holding the Republican congressional majorities in the 2018 midterm elections.”

Why Republicans Ultimately Get the Blame for Shutdown

Harry Enten: “When you combine the people who blamed Trump and with those who blamed congressional Republicans, you end up with 49 percent of voters saying Republican politicians were at fault vs. 32 blaming Democrats.”

“Now, is there value in knowing how blame is apportioned between congressional Republicans and Trump? Sure, I guess. But their fates are tied together politically. Polls show that how voters feel about Trump is directly connected to whether they plan on voting for Democrats or Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections. And those polls match past election results, which show the president’s approval rating is highly correlated with how his party does in the midterm election.”

Budget Breakthrough In Reach

“Senate Democrats are willing to drop their demand that relief for Dreamers be tied to any long-term budget agreement — a potential breakthrough on spending talks, but one that could face opposition from their House counterparts,” Politico reports.

“The shift comes in response to the deal struck between Senate leaders Monday to reopen the government and begin debate on an immigration bill next month. Meanwhile, budget negotiators are expressing optimism that a two-year agreement to lift stiff caps on defense and domestic spending is increasingly within reach.”

Ignore the Post-Shutdown Chatter

Stu Rothenberg: “Why? Because the shutdown was never a big deal politically. As long as it didn’t drag on for weeks and months, the shutdown was always more of an opportunity for feigned outrage, finger-pointing and media hype than political realignment.”

“So, while you should keep your eye on immigration as a potentially big midterm issue, don’t get too caught up in dissecting the brief government shutdown. It was a skirmish, not a major war.”

Democratic Backbiting Persists After Shutdown Defeat

Politico: “Senate Democrats are struggling to hit the reboot button a day after their shutdown defeat, with their base infuriated and their House counterparts alienated. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a close ally of Dreamer advocates, urged disappointed liberals to stay focused on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) vow to open debate on immigration legislation in February if no deal is reached by Feb. 8, when government funding next runs out.”

Said Durbin: “We had hoped to achieve more. We did achieve something significant. We have a deadline, we have a process, and I think that deadline is right near us. It isn’t like they’re asking for six months or a year. It’s 16 days.”

David Leonhardt: The Democrats did just fine.

Voters Blame Trump, Democrats Equally for Shutdown

A new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll finds that 39% of Americans think Democrats in Congress are responsible for the recent government shutdown.

In contrast, 38% blamed President Trump and just 18% said Republicans in Congress were to blame. Taken together, however, the poll shows that a slight majority of Americans — 56% — blame the president and his party.

Also interesting: 60% said Trump did not show strong leadership qualities during the recent negotiations over a shutdown.

Russian Twitter Accounts Promoted GOP Talking Points

“The White House branded the federal budget impasse… as the ‘Schumer Shutdown’ in its attempt to pin the blame on Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY),” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“But it wasn’t just Republicans using that phrase during the weekend government shutdown. Independent analysts said Twitter accounts linked to Russia have spread the same message.”