TRUMP AGENDA: The Price is … Right?
Tom Price will pay back about $52,000 to taxpayers amid a roiling controversy about his spending on private flights.
And then there’s this, from the Washington Post: “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke chartered a flight from Las Vegas to near his home in Montana this summer aboard a plane owned by oil-and-gas executives, internal documents show. The flight, along with private flights during a trip to the Virgin Islands, could propel Zinke into the growing debate over the costs of travel by Cabinet secretaries, some of whom have chosen expensive charter jets and military planes at high expense to taxpayers over the cheaper option of flying commercial.”
“Republican frustration with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has intensified since last week's failure to pass a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but his GOP Senate colleagues, desperate for a legislative win, are giving him a pass and vowing to pass tax reform,” writes NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell.
The New York Times: “Republicans’ release of a sweeping plan to rewrite the tax code has set off a scramble among Washington lobbyists and trade groups to protect valuable tax breaks and other long-ingrained provisions. The plan’s scant details make it hard to know what, exactly, is on the chopping block. But within hours of the plan’s unveiling on Wednesday, flash points emerged over measures that supporters said could hurt the housing market, raise borrowing costs and increase the tax burden on families in high-tax states.”
And from the Wall Street Journal: “A day after announcing their ambitious tax plan, Republicans debated scaling back one of their largest and most controversial proposals to pay for lower tax rates: repeal of the individual deduction for state and local taxes.”
From Jonathan Allen: “One word could be worth $500 billion to congressional Republicans as they try to play down the effect of President Donald Trump's tax cut proposal on the nation's debt. They're eyeing a switch in the standard Congress uses to measure the cost of tax cuts — from the "current law" baseline to a "current policy" baseline. The switch would mean that the tax cuts would appear to have far less impact on the long-term debt.”
Here’s NBC’s Meredith Mandell and Ari Melber on how a Watergate-era reform law despised by Trump could be what prosecutors use to cut a deal with Paul Manafort.
The Washington Post: “Twitter said Thursday that it had shut down 201 accounts that were tied to the same Russian operatives who posted thousands of political ads on Facebook, but the effort frustrated lawmakers who said the problem is far broader than the company appeared to know. The company said it also found three accounts from the news site RT — which Twitter linked to the Kremlin — that spent $274,100 in ads on its platform in 2016.”
Neil Gorsuch is under fire for giving a speech at a Trump hotel.
OFF TO THE RACES: Bannon met with Tom Tancredo to discuss Colorado bid
AL-SEN: The Daily Beast: “Roy Moore, the controversial Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, neglected to disclose as much as $150,000 in income to federal ethics officials, according to a Daily Beast review of public records. In filings with the Alabama Ethics Commission, Moore, the former chief justice of the state supreme court, listed between $50,000 and $150,000 in honoraria received last year for various speaking engagements. But in a filing with the Senate Ethics Committee two months later, he explicitly denied having received any payments last year "for an article, speech, or appearance.’”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that the White House doesn’t agree with Roy Moore’s comments on homosexuality and Muslims.
AZ-SEN: Kyrsten Sinema is officially in the Arizona Senate race.
CA-SEN: Half of likely California voters don’t want Dianne Feinstein to run for re-election, per a Public Policy Institute of California poll.
CO-SEN: Tom Tancredo met with Steve Bannon about running for governor in Colorado, the Denver Post reports.
MT-SEN: A Republican challenger to Jon Tester is in hot water for hunting violations.
NY-11: Michael Grimm is back. He’s formally announcing his run for his old seat on Sunday.
TN-SEN: Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s considering running for Corker’s seat.
VA-GOV: The Richmond Times-Dispatch: “After portraying Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie’s tax cut plan as a giveaway to the rich, Democrats launched a new line of attack Thursday by pointing to a new analysis that claims the proposal would steer more than $400 million away from public education.”
Former Gov. Doug Wilder is weighing in on the Confederate statues controversy.