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GOP Hammers Out Tax Plan

Amid the rush to finish GOP tax bill, a sudden slowdown for second thoughts. LA Times: "The rush to finish the GOP tax overhaul has hit a snag as Republicans grapple with substantial differences between the House and Senate bills, and pause to consider unintended consequences of the most massive rewrite of the tax code in a generation. Lawmakers are eager to pass the bill, President Trump’s top domestic priority, by Christmas. But they are also increasingly wary of political fallout from the hurried process and want to prevent embarrassing moments, such as the scribbled text hastily added to the margin of the final Senate bill... Lawmakers are set to convene Wednesday for the first — and perhaps only — open meeting of a conference committee tasked with reconciling the House and Senate versions of the tax bills. The Republican staffs met privately over the weekend, and leaders fielded calls with Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, as they cobble together a final version without Democratic input. As the majority in Congress, Republicans are relying on special budget rules to pass the bill on their own to bypass the threat of a Democratic filibuster. Yet even with control of the House, Senate and the White House, Republicans have struggled to resolve differences over individual income brackets, allowable deductions and when corporate rate cuts will take effect. A hoped-for deal over the weekend did not materialize as talks continued."

Nearly Half of U.S. Opposes Tax Bill

Nearly half of Americans in new poll still oppose Republican tax bill. Reuters: "As Republicans in the U.S. Congress rush to finish their tax plan, the legislation is not getting more popular with the public, with nearly half of Americans still opposed to it, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday. Of adults who were aware of the plan being considered by Congress, 49 percent said they were opposed to it, a sentiment that has not changed much in the past few weeks, the poll showed."

Trump Kills Regulations By Ignoring Them

Too lazy to kill regulations, Trump is ignoring them instead. New York Magazine: "Even the president’s bitterest enemies have given him credit for efficacy on one front: bending the regulatory state to his donors’ whims.
By weaponizing the rarely used Congressional Review Act (CRA) — a law that empowers Congress to repeal any regulations enacted within the final 60 legislative days of its previous session — Trump nipped 15 Obama-era rules in the bud. Using this tool, the White House expanded the liberty of coal companies to dump mining waste in streams; allowed internet-service providers to track and sell consumers’ data without seeking their permission; banned states from setting up retirement savings plans for private-sector workers (a betrayal of federalism that serves no purpose beyond eliminating one of Wall Street’s potential competitors); freed employers from the responsibility of logging all workplace injuries; ended discrimination against serial labor-law violators in the bidding process for government contracts; and made it harder for consumers to sue banks that defraud them."

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Mainers Brave Storm to Challenge Sen. Collins to Vote “No” on Tax Bill. Lauren McCauley: "Despite freezing temperatures and the season’s first significant snowfall, hundreds of people from across New England turned out Saturday to demand that Senator Susan Collins finally listen to the will of the voters and reject the Republican tax overhaul. In recent weeks, Maine voters have made it clear that they are not willing to stand idle as the Republican party prepares to slash funding for essential programs like Medicare and Social Security, all while giving a massive tax break to corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Saturday’s march was just the latest in a series of local actions – including civil disobedience – organized against the plan, particularly aimed at convincing Collins she had made the “wrong” choice in supporting it."

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