TRUMP AGENDA: Previewing a “jam-packed” January
The Washington Post previews what’s coming up on Capitol Hill: “Congress faces a jam-packed to-do list this month with deadlines looming on difficult issues — including how to fund the government and avoid a shutdown, stabilizing the nation’s health insurance program for poor children, and whether to shield young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Fresh off a party-line vote in favor of legislation overhauling the tax code, the negotiations will test whether Congress and the White House still have the potential to craft any form of bipartisan agreement. If so, several of the year’s most contested issues might be resolved with months to spare before the 2018 midterm campaign heats up. If not, the government could soon be on the verge of a shutdown, with pressing questions regarding health care, immigration and other policies left unresolved.”
The tax bill may have been signed, but the politicking continues. From the New York Times: “Democrats in high-cost, high-tax states are plotting ways to do what their states’ representatives in Congress could not: blunt the impact of the newly passed Republican tax overhaul. Governors and legislative leaders in New York, California and other states are considering legal challenges to elements of the law that they say unfairly single out parts of the country. They are looking at ways of raising revenue that aren’t penalized by the new law. And they are considering changing their state tax codes to allow residents to take advantage of other federal tax breaks — in effect, restoring deductions that the tax law scaled back.”
From POLITICO: “President Donald Trump returned to Washington from his sunny holiday break in Florida in an upbeat mood, relaxed and rested — but many of his top aides are dreading what’s to come in 2018. After ending their first year on a high, signing a sweeping tax reform bill into law, Trump’s advisers are divided about how to capitalize on that victory and maintain momentum going forward with Hill Republicans again at odds over their legislative agenda.”
“A wave of optimism has swept over American business leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs job creation — and may finally raise wages significantly,” the New York Times notes. “While business leaders are eager for the tax cuts that take effect this year, the newfound confidence was initially inspired by the Trump administration’s regulatory pullback, not so much because deregulation is saving companies money but because the administration has instilled a faith in business executives that new regulations are not coming.”
And here’s POLITICO on the GOP’s Obamacare problem: “GOP leaders on Capitol Hill don’t want a repeat of last year’s Obamacare fumble: They spent precious time on a failed attempt to repeal the health care law every member of the GOP was presumed to hate. But they also don’t want to take repeal off the table, which would provoke conservatives who are still determined to undo Obamacare. The reality is the GOP is so divided on Obamacare, they don’t have the votes to achieve either objective — repeal or stabilization. That means former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment could keep limping along, crippled by the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax law but lifted by the surprisingly strong enrollment for the coming year.”
The big story overseas right now, via the AP: “Clashes overnight between protesters and security forces in Iran killed nine people, state television reported Tuesday, including some rioters who tried to storm a police station to steal weapons. The demonstrations, the largest to strike Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election, have seen six days of unrest across the country and a death toll of at least 20. Offering his first comments since they began, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday accused the “enemies of Iran” of meddling in the country’s affairs.”
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And more, in the Wall Street Journal: “The biggest wave of protests to hit Iran in almost a decade has backed the country’s leaders into a corner, and the Trump administration is increasing the pressure by threatening fresh sanctions if the government forcefully cracks down on the demonstrations. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who has been a favorite of the country’s moderates, now finds himself under fire from a young population eager for change. U.S. President Donald Trump waded into that volatile situation on Monday with a strong statement of support for the protesters.”
The New York Times notes that the latest overture from North Korea could create a divide between the U.S. and South Korea.
OFF TO THE RACES: Gearing up for 2020
NBC’s Jonathan Allen notes that Democrats — and Trump — are already gearing up for 2020.
And POLITICO looks at what Elizabeth Warren is doing to position herself for a potential run.
The Washington Post takes a look at why so many women are eyeing gubernatorial runs.
Is Trump in trouble in Iowa?
AL-SEN: Doug Jones will be sworn in this week. The Alabama Democrat told the Wall Street Journal that he wants to “reach some consensus to try to get things done.”
CA: The Wall Street Journal reports on how California could be a big problem for the GOP in 2018.
The California legislature is dealing with a big sexual harassment issue, writes the AP.
FL-27: McClatchy notes that plenty of Republicans are writing off Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat as unwinnable.
FL-SEN: POLITICO looks at how Trump is trying to push Rick Scott to run for Senate in 2018.
NY-GOV: Republican Harry Wilson will forgo a race against Andrew Cuomo.
TX-GOV: The Los Angeles Times takes a big look at Democrats’ front-runner gubernatorial candidate for 2018, Latina sheriff Lupe Valdez.