Koningsfeest is a fun word to say. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Senate Republicans have decided to push ahead with legislation to cut taxes for rich people that also now includes a repeal of the individual mandate connected to Obamacare. As the Washington Post reports, this kitchen sink tax bill is a big gamble:
Congressional Republicans are reaching for a booby-trapped bag of cash as they scramble to try to pay for their tax overhaul.
House and Senate Republicans are moving to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — a surprise turn that would yield more than $300 billion in much-needed revenue even as it revives the toxic politics of the GOP’s summertime drive to gut the landmark law.
Senate GOP tax writers incorporated the high-stakes maneuver into the latest version of their plan (see full text here), released late Tuesday night. They applied the new revenue to making permanent the deeply-slashed 20 percent corporate rate at the heart of the tax plan; doubling the child tax credit to $2,000; and expanding access to a deduction for pass-through businesses. But the updated bill sunsets individual rate cuts at the end of 2025 to help the package comply with strict budget rules — a move that Democrats seized on to blast the GOP for prioritizing corporate interests over working people.
The Post notes that House Republicans are not nearly as excited about the idea of trying to repeal the individual mandate within a tax reform bill that has already been taking on water for weeks. Earlier this month Republicans were hammered for trying to insert “Personhood” language into the tax bill as well. Chris Cillizza of CNN writes that Republicans are risking the entire 2018 election on this new maneuver.
► “Tax reform” legislation in the House of Representatives remains on track to potentially get a floor vote as soon as Thursday, which could theoretically allow the House and Senate enough time to reconcile both versions before the end of the year. From CNBC:
The GOP aims to pass a plan to chop tax rates for businesses and individuals by the end of the year to fulfill a key campaign promise. Lawmakers argue that changing the tax code will spark economic growth and boost job creation and wages.
This week, the Senate is marking up, or debating and amending, its version. The chamber wants to approve the bill after Thanksgiving.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday described the current plans as a “work in progress.” He said he expects the two chambers to pass separate legislation before going to a conference committee to craft a joint plan.
In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, McCarthy contended that the House and Senate can quickly reconcile the differences and get a final bill to Trump’s desk by the end of the year.
President Trump is expected to visit Capitol Hill on Thursday to drum up support for cutting taxes for rich people.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) has an idea for a real reform to the tax code that makes a lot of sense and therefore probably has no chance of succeeding.
► Just when you thought the saga of Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore couldn’t get any weirder…it does. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now suggesting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be a Republican write-in candidate in next month’s special election in Alabama. Of course, the entire reason that this special election is even taking place is because Sessions left his Senate office earlier this year to become Attorney General.
Moore continues to resist pressure to withdraw from the race, and Sessions has given no public indication that he would want to return to his old job. There’s a word for what’s happening in Alabama right now (hint: it rhymes with “Blusterfuck”).
Also, Colorado Republicans have a lot of explaining to do about embracing Moore during a visit to Denver last Spring.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Fox News enthusiasts are furious that TV anchor Shepard Smith went on the air and essentially debunked the Hillary Clinton/ Uranium sales conspiracy theory. As the Washington Post explains:
Smith’s critique, which called President Trump’s accusations against Clinton “inaccurate,” was triggered by renewed calls from Republicans on Capitol Hill for a special counsel to investigate Clinton.
Fox News, along with Trump and his allies, has been suggesting for months a link between donations to the Clinton Foundation and the approval of a deal by the State Department and the Obama administration allowing a Russian company to purchase a Canada-based mining group with operations in the United States…
…Various fact-checkers, including The Washington Post’s, have already dismantled the underpinnings of these accusations. No one expected a similar debunking from Fox.
Stupid…facts, and what not.
Meanwhile, longtime staffers at the Justice Department are growing increasingly concerned about the idea of a new “special counsel” to investigate the Hillary/Uranium thing. They were apparently not convinced by Rep. Louie Gohmert’s bizarre conspiracy chart thingy that he displayed on Tuesday.
► Well, that one backfired. Despite the claims of President Trump that Obamacare is dead — or perhaps because of those dubious claims — enrollment is up across the country. From Politico:
Obamacare’s fifth open enrollment season, the first under President Donald Trump, is off to a surprisingly robust start despite the brutal developments of the past year — skyrocketing premiums, dwindling competition, unremitting Republican efforts to eradicate it.
Sign-ups surged as soon as enrollment opened Nov. 1, easily surpassing the number of Americans getting coverage during the opening days of the final two sign-up periods under the Obama administration. CMS on Wednesday reported nearly 1.5 million people had selected plans through Nov. 11.
In other words, there might be no such thing as bad news for Obamacare.
Trump is like a bizarro-King Midas.
► Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is having trouble explaining some pretty basic positions on issues now that she is a candidate for Governor in 2018.
► The Director of the CIA, former Rep. Mike Pompeo, is emerging as a likely choice to succeed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. No, you didn’t miss the news that Tillerson was stepping down or anything.
► Democrat Jason Crow has earned the coveted “Red to Blue” status from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) as he seeks to unseat Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in CD-6. Crow is not the first Democratic opponent of Coffman to receive “Red to Blue” status in recent years, but it’s a noteworthy acknowledgment nonetheless.
► Democratic state Rep. and Treasurer candidate Steve Lebsock is responding anew to allegations of sexual harassment…and he’s not doing a particularly good job:
— Marshall Zelinger (@Marshall9News) November 14, 2017
Lebsock had publicly apologized for his alleged transgressions over the weekend, but is now claiming that he is the victim or some sort of blackmail plot, or something.
► Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to suffer from a strange form of selective memory when it comes to questions about the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. From NBC News:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told lawmakers Tuesday that he now recalls the meeting with former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, but maintained that he did not lie under oath when he said he was unaware of communications between campaign officials and Russians during the 2016 presidential election.
“I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during that meeting,” Sessions said in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, which conducts oversight of the Department of Justice.
According to court records, Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Kremlin-connected Russians as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, disclosed his connections to Russia during that March gathering of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers and suggested he could coordinate a meeting between the then-candidate and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sessions attended the foreign policy advisory meeting, as did Trump, but Sessions said he had no memory of it until he read about it in news reports of Papadopoulos’ guilty plea.
“After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter,” Sessions said Tuesday. “But I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago, and would gladly have reported it.”
Oh, you meant that Russia? I was thinking of a different Russia the first time you asked the question.
► The Colorado Independent ponders a handful of questions about the very many Republican candidates running for Governor in 2018.
► Neil Westergaard, a longtime fixture in the journalism community in Colorado, is retiring from his position as Editor-in-Chief at the Denver Business Journal.
► Apparently there is a coup attempt underway in Zimbabwe.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Former Republican Congressman and now three-time candidate for Governor Tom Tancredo is in a full-throated war of words with Karl Rove, who used to do most of George W. Bush’s thinking for him. Rove called Tancredo “a disgraced former Congressman” in a national television appearance on Fox News.
► Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sicced his attorney on local media outlets in the state. Moore’s attorney probably needs a proofreader in the office.
► Let’s try to put an end to sexual harassment in the state legislature first and foremost. The bus will still be there to throw people underneath later.