Be thankful that you won’t have to watch the Denver Broncos on Thursday. 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…
As the tax debate heads into a one-week, Thanksgiving-imposed timeout, the project hangs by a thread in the Senate. A handful of Senate Republicans will determine its fate. The challenge for Republican leaders is that those swing votes have conflicting priorities.
On one side are senators demanding changes adding to the cost of the bill; on the other, deficit hawks are raising alarms about the price tag of a measure that arguably has burst its seams.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) objects to the last-minute decision by Republican tax writers to include a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate — a critical source of revenue for the bill. And Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) wants more generous treatment for pass-through businesses. Meanwhile, Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), among others, have said the bill’s deficit impact could cost their support.
In a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Collins said the move to scrap the individual mandate will cause insurance premiums to spike, wiping out whatever middle-class benefit the bill might otherwise deliver. She stopped short of declaring herself opposed to the Senate bill, because she expects it to change, but she called the mandate repeal the “biggest mistake.”
► The Keystone XL pipeline cleared an key regulatory hurdle today, as NBC News reports:
The Keystone XL pipeline cleared a major hurdle on Monday after a Nebraska regulator approved an alternate route for the $8 billion project.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted to approve TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline in a 3-2 decision that cleared a regulatory hurdle for the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline that would link Canada’s Alberta oil sands to U.S. refineries.
Nebraska was the only state that had yet to approve the pipeline’s route, and Monday’s decision appeared to pass that final regulatory challenge. But the move could still be challenged in court.
Last week, the Keystone Pipeline spilled more than 200,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota — more evidence to back up critics who believe the pipeline is fundamentally unsafe for local communities.
► President Trump has decided to put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism. Former President George W. Bush removed North Korea from the list in 2008.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► John Frank of the Denver Post takes a long look at the institutional culture of sexual harassment at the State Capitol.
Meanwhile, several Colorado lobbyists are (questionably) coming to the defense of Republican state Sen. Jack Tate, who has been defiant in the face of harassment allegations.
► Pervasive charges of sexual harassment — again, from both parties — are dominating political discussions in Florida.
► The White House ended its long silence on Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore. From the Washington Post:
A top White House adviser to President Trump on Monday morning effectively endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, a man who faces multiple accusations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, including one involving a 14-year-old.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway didn’t say, “Vote for Roy Moore,” but she might as well have. And her comments put a button on a lengthy series of comments and no-comments from the White House that can be read as nothing but a wink and a nod toward supporting Moore in the Alabama special election and doubting his accusers.
Asked on Fox News whether the White House was urging Alabamians to support the Republican, Conway’s answer was decidedly not “no.”…
…Conway went on to not explicitly rule out Trump’s campaigning for Moore, although she did say Trump had no plans to do so.
Sure, Roy Moore may be a sexual predator who targeted young girls for years, but…taxes!
It’s also worth noting that over the weekend, the three largest newspapers in Alabama ran front page editorials urging voters “to reject Roy Moore.”
► Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist for the Washington Post, decries a “soulless, intellectually corrupt party that has embraced (or not fully rejected) the Senate candidacy of Roy Moore:
When I think of a group that might be called, “Republicans Against Predators in Elections” (or whatever), you realize that would now be seen as controversial, an attack on the president. And that’s the nub of the problem…
…In truth, the goals these Republicans care about, if they ever did, have long ago been sublimated (they certainly changed them entirely) to the goal of holding power, of winning. When that is the highest calling they’ll vote for alleged child predators, racists and just about anyone else with an “R” next to his or her name. The result is moral chaos, political malfeasance and gross incompetence. And a President Trump.
► Feeling nostalgic about President Obama and the 1990s? Saturday Night Live has you covered.
► Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman teases out some potentially-big news this afternoon:
— Marianne Goodland (@MGoodland) November 20, 2017
► Republican Attorney General candidate and execution enthusiast George Brauchler is taking shots at current AG — and newly-minted gubernatorial candidate — Cynthia Coffman. As Joey Bunch writes for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Coffman’s campaign for Governor is starting off on a weird foot.
► Former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to be moving ever closer to running for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► President Donald J. Trump, everyone:
US president says he should have left US citizens imprisoned by non-democratic regime because the family didn’t acknowledge him personally https://t.co/7X11jTvvvR
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 19, 2017
► Republican state Rep. Dave Williams is on a quest to claim the mantle of biggest jackass in the state legislature.