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GOP Strives To Push Through Tax Cuts

Congressional GOP moves closer to tax-cut plan. WaPo: "Congressional Republicans face critical decisions this week as they move within striking distance on a major legislative package to cut taxes, an achievement party leaders say is crucial to stabilizing the GOP’s recent political tailspin ahead of next year’s elections. The House plans to vote on a GOP tax bill by week’s end that would slash taxes for companies and overhaul the tax code for virtually every American family and individual. And the Senate Finance Committee expects to vote on its version of the package within the next few days. Stark differences between the House and Senate tax bills remain unresolved, but there is enough overlap and — so far — muted intraparty resistance, making the White House increasingly optimistic that an agreement can come by Christmas, as President Trump has repeatedly promised."

Obamacare Enrollment Rises

Surprise! Obamacare Enrollment Is Actually Rising. Bloomberg: "Donald Trump wants Obamacare to implode. That’s not a mischievous inference from his legislative misadventures; that’s a direct quote. 'As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!' It’s thus somewhat surprising that on his watch, enrollment currently seems to be on track for its best year ever. In the first four days, 601,462 people signed up for insurance through the federal marketplace, a significantly faster pace than in earlier years. And almost a quarter of them were new to the exchanges."

WH Wants Obamacare Repeal In Tax Plan

Obamacare verdict is in, but will Trump let GOP scrap repeal? USA Today: "Watching Republicans continue to pull out the stops to end or severely hobble the Affordable Care Act is beginning to feel like watching someone bang their head against a brick wall, over and over. The head is bloody, but the wall is just fine. GOP efforts over the last year to repeal the ACA. and President Trump's very public efforts to sabotage it, were on the ballot in more ways than one last week. Four major repeal votes in Congress and repeated efforts to cut funding and raise premiums were very much on Americans' minds as they voted in some key states and as the nationwide ACA open enrollment period began... Whether this is tone deafness, misplaced fealty to a handful of major donors or his tribal hatred for all things Obama, Trump will continue to cause many in the GOP to keep hitting their heads against the ACA wall. There's now reason to think that brick wall in some form is here to stay. Trump's loyal repeal army in Congress, however, may not be."

Trump Aims For Ultraconservative Judiciary

Trump Is rapidly reshaping the Judiciary. Here’s how. NYT: " In the weeks before Donald J. Trump took office, lawyers joining his administration gathered at a law firm near the Capitol, where Donald F. McGahn II, the soon-to-be White House counsel, filled a white board with a secret battle plan to fill the federal appeals courts with young and deeply conservative judges. Mr. McGahn, instructed by Mr. Trump to maximize the opportunity to reshape the judiciary, mapped out potential nominees and a strategy, according to two people familiar with the effort: Start by filling vacancies on appeals courts with multiple openings and where Democratic senators up for re-election next year in states won by Mr. Trump — like Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania — could be pressured not to block his nominees. And to speed them through confirmation, avoid clogging the Senate with too many nominees for the district courts, where legal philosophy is less crucial. Nearly a year later, that plan is coming to fruition. Mr. Trump has already appointed eight appellate judges, the most this early in a presidency since Richard M. Nixon, and on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send a ninth appellate nominee — Mr. Trump’s deputy White House counsel, Gregory Katsas — to the floor."

Federal Judge Nominee Has Never Tried A Case

He has never tried a case, but Trump wants to make him judge for life. WaPo: "Brett Talley, a 36-year-old lawyer whom President Trump nominated for a lifetime federal judgeship, has practiced law for only three years and has yet to try a case. Before his nomination in September, he had been unequivocal about his political views. 'Hillary Rotten Clinton might be the best Trumpism yet,' says a tweet from his account, which has since been made private. 'A Call to Arms: It’s Time to Join the National Rifle Association' was the title of a blog post he wrote in January 2013, a month after a gunman in Newtown, Conn., killed 27 people before taking his own life. Talley, who also writes horror novels on the side, moved a step closer to becoming a federal district judge in his home state of Alabama on Thursday. Voting along party lines, the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Republicans outnumber Democrats, approved Talley’s nomination, which now goes to the Senate for a full vote. Talley is the latest federal judicial nominee to draw scrutiny for what some say is his limited experience in practicing law and the level of partisanship he had shown on social media, on his political blog and on several opinion pieces he had written for CNN. He has also received a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, which vets federal judicial nominees."

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