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First Read's Morning Clips: Examining the GOP Tax Plan

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
A general view of the Internal Revenue Service Building in Washington
A general view of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Building in Washington. REUTERS

TRUMP AGENDA: Examining the GOP’s tax plan

Benjy Sarlin notes that it’s still hard to tell exactly who the winners and losers would be in Trump’s tax plan — particularly the middle class.

The Washington Post: “[T]he nine-page framework they released to kick off negotiations left many key questions unanswered, including how they plan to avoid adding trillions of dollars to the government’s debt. The framework leaned heavily on limiting taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans, such as the alternative-minimum tax, and opposition to these changes from Democrats suggest it will be a battleground as negotiations intensify.”

And the Wall Street Journal: “With many tough decisions about who wins and who loses left to be sorted out by lawmakers, the release of the plan marks the beginning of what likely will be months of tugging and pulling among lawmakers, lobbyists and the administration to reshape the way the federal government taxes businesses and individuals. Battles could ensue about a proposal to limit deductions that businesses are now allowed for interest on their debt and about the repeal of the state and local tax deduction. That last change has opponents among House Republicans in New York, New Jersey and California, whose votes GOP leaders will likely need.”

The New York Times notes that deficit hawks aren’t speaking up about the new tax plan. “’It’s a great talking point when you have an administration that’s Democrat-led,’ said Representative Mark Walker, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of about 150 conservative House members. ‘It’s a little different now that Republicans have both houses and the administration.’”

“Health insurers appeared likely to offer Affordable Care Act plans in all U.S. counties next year, despite months of drama and worries among some state officials about last-minute exits, ahead of a late-Wednesday deadline,” writes the Wall Street Journal.

“For three weeks, a harsh spotlight has been trained on Facebook over its disclosure that Russians used fake pages and ads, designed to look like the work of American activists, to spread inflammatory messages during and since the presidential campaign,” writes the New York Times. “But there is evidence that Twitter may have been used even more extensively than Facebook in the Russian influence campaign last year. In addition to Russia-linked Twitter accounts that posed as Americans, the platform was also used for large-scale automated messaging, using “bot” accounts to spread false stories and promote news articles about emails from Democratic operatives that had been obtained by Russian hackers.”

POLITICO: “While Senate Republicans abandoned their last-gasp attempt to topple Obamacare before a Saturday deadline, they’re already suggesting they might try again next year. That timing — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Congress would take up repeal again in the first quarter of next year — could keep the threat of upending the health care system front of mind in the thick of the 2018 campaign season. And as much as they want to keep Obamacare intact, Democrats believe that political dynamic only boosts their chances of taking back the House and putting Republicans on defense in Senate races.”

First in the Washington Post: “The Trump administration is restricting lawmakers in both parties from visiting storm-ravaged Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands aboard military aircraft this weekend in order to keep focused on recovery missions there, according to multiple congressional aides. The decision comes as the Pentagon is intensifying its relief efforts on the islands as the U.S. government struggles to respond to devastation caused last week by Hurricane Maria and earlier by Hurricane Irma.”

From NBC’s Suzy Khimm: “The Trump administration is slow-walking enforcement of a major Obama-era regulation to strengthen protections for construction workers against a type of dust that has been linked to cancer and lung disease. Enforcement of the new rules for silica dust — which workers are often exposed to while cutting, drilling and grinding materials like concrete, granite and mortar — was originally scheduled to begin on June 23, but the Trump administration issued a three-month delay. Last Wednesday, three days before the Sept. 23 deadline, the Labor Department granted another reprieve, announcing that it would hold off fully enforcing the rules for 30 more days.”

House Republicans are rolling out a $10 billion plan for border wall construction — one that could fuel a shutdown fight at the end of the year.

More flight woes for a Trump administration official, from the Washington Post: “Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has taken at least four noncommercial and military flights since mid-February, costing taxpayers more than $58,000 to fly him to various parts of the country, according to records provided to a congressional oversight committee and obtained by The Washington Post.”

The Washington Post notes that Neil Gorsuch’s lectures and speeches are prompting critics to question his independence.

OFF TO THE RACES: Aftermath of Roy Moore’s wn

AL-SEN: POLITICO, on the aftermath of Moore’s win: “Roy Moore’s win in Alabama’s Senate primary has raised the specter of a nightmare scenario for Democrats and Republicans: The GOP picks up a handful of seats next year, padding its Senate majority, but with candidates like Moore, who buck party leadership as often as they fall in line.” reports on how Doug Jones Is hitting the campaign trail after the GOP primary.

Steve Kornacki’s analysis: “Roy Moore’s easy victory in Alabama’s Republican Senate runoff says something about President Donald Trump, who tried and failed to sell Moore’s opponent to the party base. But it says a lot more about the toxic disconnect between the GOP's Washington establishment and its grass-roots voters.”

NJ-SEN: Here’s the New York Times, on how past corruption convictions — and their recent overturning — loom over the Menendez trial.

NJ-GOV: reports on a town hall Wednesday night with Phil Murphy. “Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany and ex-Goldman Sachs banking executive, discussed his tax plan, a key law about to sunset, the NJEA's fight against Stephen Sweeney, how he'd fight President Donald Trump's immigrant policy and more.”

NV-SEN: Dina Titus won’t run for Senate.

TN-SEN: Bob Corker talked to reporters about his potential successors.

Will Peyton Manning run? He says he’s given the idea “zero consideration.”

VA-GOV: Hillary Clinton will raise money for Ralph Northam next week.

VA-SEN: Corey Stewart weighed in on the NFL controversy. “’The players represented by this organization behind me are not heroes,’ Stewart said at a news conference in Washington outside the NFL Players Association. “They are overpaid, arrogant, disrespectful, ungrateful, unpatriotic.” He added: ‘Disrespect for our country starts with universities.’”