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TRUMP AGENDA: What the tax deal might mean for 2020

NBC’s Jonathan Allen, on what the tax deal means now and in 2020: “By securing his first major legislative victory Wednesday, President Donald Trump demonstrated he's capable of working with his own party in Congress and added another plank to his re-election platform. The two parties will spend much of the next 11 months — and the two years after that — fighting over whether the $1.5 trillion Republican-written tax cut is the best catalyst for the economy, whether more of the relief should have been distributed to the working and middle classes and whether it should have included its repeal of Obamacare's tax on people who don't buy health insurance.”

“Republicans in Congress celebrated the passage of the biggest rewrite of the U.S. tax code in decades Wednesday, with President Trump calling it a “Christmas gift for hard-working Americans.” Workers will see the first glimpse of a tax cut in February at the earliest, but it won’t be until 2019 — when people file their taxes for next year — that most will know whether they will pay more or less to the federal government,” writes the Washington Post. “In the meantime, tax attorneys, accountants and corporate payroll departments are scrambling to adjust to changes that won’t be official until Trump signs the bill in January.”

The New York Times: “When President Trump adds his distinctive signature to the tax bill, he will also be making a huge bet that the Republican strategy of deep cuts for businesses and wealthy individuals will fuel extraordinary growth across the board. Perhaps more than any other American political leader, Mr. Trump knows that long shots, like his own presidential bid, sometimes pay off. In that vein, he and congressional Republicans are arguing that their bitterly contested and expensive rewrite of the tax code will ultimately create more jobs and raise wages. If they are proved correct, they will be repudiating not only historical experience, but most experts.”

Democrats are preparing to fight on tax politics for the next year.

Maggie Fox checks in on what a congressional failure to fund CHIP would mean for affected children nationwide.

Here’s how lawmakers are racing to punt on a government shutdown, via the New York Times.

And keep an eye on this, via the Wall Street Journal: “A bipartisan pair of senators vowed Wednesday to mount a filibuster of any long-term extension of a key surveillance law, complicating the efforts of congressional leaders to keep one of the most important spying tools in the government’s arsenal from expiring.”

Will we see an immigration bill get a vote in January? POLITICO checks in.

Trump is threatening to end American aid to United Nations countries that vote against the U.S.

From Tom Winter, Pete Williams and Ken Dilanian: “On the orders of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Justice Department prosecutors have begun asking FBI agents to explain the evidence they found in a now dormant criminal investigation into a controversial uranium deal that critics have linked to Bill and Hillary Clinton, multiple law enforcement officials told NBC News. The interviews with FBI agents are part of the Justice Department's effort to fulfill a promise an assistant attorney general made to Congress last month to examine whether a special counsel was warranted to look into what has become known as the Uranium One deal, a senior Justice Department official said.”

Mark Warner says that an attempt to fire Robert Mueller would be a “constitutional crisis.”

And then there’s this, via POLITICO: “A group of House Republicans has gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly — and perhaps criminally — mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to four people familiar with their plans. A subset of the Republican members of the House intelligence committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunes of California, has been quietly working parallel to the committee's high-profile inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. They haven't informed Democrats about their plans, but they have consulted with the House's general counsel.”

OFF TO THE RACES: That Virginia race keeps getting wilder

POLITICO offers a big overview of how Senate control could shift in 2018.

CA-SEN: [A] new poll is raising the volume of one of the most intriguing questions in political circles from here to Capitol Hill: Is Dianne Feinstein losing her ironclad grip on her Senate seat? A new poll found just 41 percent of likely California voters back the 84-year-old, five-term incumbent in her bid for re-election, six months before the 2018 primary,” writes the Mercury News.

MN-SEN: Al Franken’s last day in the Senate is January 2.

MS-SEN: Speculation is growing that Thad Cochran will resign in January.

UT-SEN: In the Atlantic: Has Trump persuaded Hatch to block Mitt Romney from coming to the Senate?

VA: That Virginia House of Delegates race just keeps getting wilder: “A Democrat's stunning one-vote victory in a hotly contested race for the Virginia House of Delegates this week suddenly became a tie on Wednesday after a three-judge panel ruled that an additional ballot should have been counted for the Republican. Now, the winner will be determined "by lot," according to state law, and that could mean pulling a name out of a hat, a coin toss — or drawing straws.”