Newsletter: Essential Politics: Republicans cheer, Democrats jeer tax plan’s passage
“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is passed,” said Vice President Mike Pence as he presided in the Senate just after 12:45 a.m. in Washington on Wednesday.
There was one small delay — after some items that didn’t pass Senate procedure had to be nixed — but House Republicans are expected to hold their do-over vote on Wednesday and celebrate their biggest policy and political accomplishment of 2017.
Democrats, of course, have seen nothing to celebrate in the sweeping plan. And protesters disrupted floor sessions on both sides of the U.S. Capitol during Tuesday’s debate.
THE TAX PLAN TOPLINES
The $1.5-trillion agreement could come with a steep political cost, as Lisa Mascaro points out. Polling shows it to be unpopular, and there’s considerable criticism of claims that it will boost the nation’s economy. And yet, there was no hint of that Tuesday after the House’s big vote.
“No concerns whatsoever,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Two California Republicans, both facing tough reelection campaigns next year, bucked party leadership and voted against the tax plan: Reps. Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher.
All 39 Democrats from the Golden State voted against the plan — a major policy shift that a new poll finds winning the support of only about 20% of Californians surveyed.
By the way: Tax professionals have five big tips for your end-of-the-year planning, ways you can maximize new advantages and minimize the potential hit from other changes.
LIGHTNING ROUND: NATIONAL POLITICS
-- Congress is set to consider an $81-billion disaster aid package that includes wildfire recovery money for California and other Western states as well as hurricane relief, almost twice as much as the White House sought last month.
-- The Green Party’s 2016 presidential nominee, Jill Stein, says she’s cooperating with a request for documents from a Senate committee probing Russian meddling in the U.S. election.
-- The White House officially blamed North Korea on Tuesday for the May cyberattack known as WannaCry that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, affecting healthcare, financial services and vital infrastructure.
-- Painful new details emerged Monday about the arrest of Track Palin, the son of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who at one point on Saturday pleaded with his father to shoot him, according to a police affidavit. The document said his father, Todd, was brandishing a gun but refused to shoot.
-- A Senate committee on Tuesday rejected Trump’s nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank, injecting new chaos into the embattled agency whose job is to help U.S. companies sell their goods abroad.
-- Matthew Petersen, nominated by President Trump to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, withdrew from consideration after he was unable to define basic legal terms during his confirmation hearing last week.
-- Mountain bikers eager to enjoy more backcountry have recruited some unexpected allies: Republicans dead set on rolling back environmental protections. The alliance aims for cycling access to the Pacific Crest Trail.
KOZINSKI STEPS DOWN
For 35 years on one of America’s most closely watched federal appeals courts, Judge Alex Kozinski earned a reputation for stylish, provocative writing. But it was his alleged treatment of clerks and other women in the legal profession that brought his career to an end.
On Monday, Kozinski abruptly retired after more than a dozen complaints from former clerks, externs and others accusing him of sexual misconduct.
OF SMALL-TIME CALIFORNIA POT GROWERS ...
California voters legalized marijuana use last year, but creating a system for legal sales and distribution has taken months. Sales begin in some communities on New Year’s Day.
But now some state lawmakers and pot growers say the state’s cultivation rules favor big corporate farms. And they’re blaming a loophole in the rules on marijuana farming.
Expect a lot more questions and challenges as the Jan. 1 date fast approaches for marijuana sales. We’ll have ongoing coverage on our Essential Politics news feed.
-- Norwalk Rep. Grace Napolitano’s husband, Frank Napolitano, died Friday at their home after a battle with cancer. He was 90.
-- A real estate developer and a billboard executive were fined Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission for flouting city rules that restrict how much donors can give to politicians.
-- The American Civil Liberties Union and a law firm have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a San Bernardino woman who spent a day in immigration custody despite repeatedly saying that she was an American citizen.
-- An annual study looks at how well colleges and universities protect individual rights. California campuses do better than the nation.
-- Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said this week that the creation of a so-called “Brady list” of about 300 deputies disciplined for dishonesty and similar misconduct was an important part of his efforts to reform the agency he took over when it was mired in scandal three years ago.
-- What if we lost GPS? Count that as one thing that worries the Air Force secretary.
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