GOP tax bill: the devil is in the details to derailing this terrible bill

The House and Senate conference committee will be meeting this week to hash out the differences between the House and Senate GOP tax bills to come up with a conformed bill that still must be passed by both chambers to become law.

There is a scenario or two in which this terrible tax bill falls apart. Jim Newell writes at Slate, How the Tax Deal Could Fall Apart:

The biggest development this week was that negotiators, for the first time in the process, seriously looked at reinstating some version of the state and local income tax deduction. There appear to be two reasons for this. The first would be the sizable, and mercurial, California GOP delegation in the House. Eleven out of 14 of these members voted for the original House bill—an odd move, since one of the bill’s ambitions is to redistribute Californian wealth elsewhere. Rather than flex their leverage in the original fight, though, they put their faith in Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to ensure it’s fixed in conference. The second reason—and the one that explains why Californians might prevail—is that they appear to have an even greater ally in this fight than McCarthy: President Trump. The Washington Post reported this week that Trump’s rich friends in New York have been bitching to him about the SALT elimination. That goes a long way.

Even a modest retention would be costly. Eliminating the deductibility of state and local income taxes is a major revenue-raiser in both the House and Senate bills. Other pay-fors that were included in both the House and Senate bills might not last in the joint negotiations as well. There is a flat-out error in the Senate bill regarding the corporate alternative minimum tax, and the Senate’s last-minute decision to keep the individual AMT is meeting resistance as well. The House bill, which more aggressively pursued deductions for graduate students and those with major medical expenses, is also expected to be tamed.

What all this means is that conference negotiators are under pressure to find some hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue to keep the bill’s net cost within $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

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Political Calendar: Week of December 10, 2017

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Political Calendar for the Week of December 10, 2017:

Sunday, December 10, 5:00 p.m.: Democratic Women of the Prescott Area Holiday Party, at the Hassayampa Marina Room, 122 East Gurley Street, Prescott. $50.00 per person, $90.00 per couple. To reserve your ticket, call Jan Manolis: 626-340-7060 or email info@demwomenprescottaz.com.

Monday, December 11, Noon: Democrats of Greater Tucson luncheon, Dragon’s View Restaurant (400 N. Bonita, South of St. Mary’s Road between the Freeway and Grande Avenue, turn South at Furr’s Cafeteria). New price: buffet lunch is $10.00 cash, $12 credit; just a drink is $3.50. Featured speaker is CD 2 candidate and former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick. Next Week: Mark Gordon, candidate for AZ Secretary of State.

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Cartoon of The Week

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Kyrsten Sinema Stakes Out 5 Positions in US Senate Race

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema

In her first fundraising letter, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema stakes out five issues she will campaign on in the race for US Senator from Arizona:

  • Women’s health and reproductive rights. “I’ve earned perfect scores and endorsements from choice groups, and will defend reproductive health care, including access to affordable birth control, against all threats in the U.S. Senate. It’s wrong for politicians to use women’s health to score political points.”
  • Equal pay for equal work. “Women in Arizona still make 83 cents for every dollar a man earns for the doing the exact same work. I’ll fight in the U.S. Senate for pay equity for women, so Arizona families can make ends meet.”
  • Energy conservation and natural resource management. “We must be good stewards of the earth to protect our natural resources and promote clean energy to boost our economy and mitigate the effects of climate change.”
  • LGBTQ rights. “LGBT rights are under attack. No one should live in fear of losing a job or home because of who they are or who they love.”
  • Smart investments in infrastructure and innovation. “In the U.S. Senate, I’ll work across party lines to create good-paying jobs, strengthen communities, and give middle-class families the tools they need to succeed.”

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Creepy Trent Franks’ resignation effective immediately after more details emerge

My Spidey senses tingling were correct, there was more to Rep. Trent Franks sudden resignation — and I don’t believe the latest reporting is the full story either (there have been rumors circulating about him for years). Politico reports, Female aides fretted Franks wanted to have sex to impregnate them:

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks allegedly made unwanted advances toward female staffers in his office and retaliated against one who rebuffed him, according to House GOP sources with knowledge of a complaint against him.

The allegations, which reached Speaker Paul Ryan and top GOP leaders in recent days, led to Franks’ sudden resignation this week. Franks originally announced that he would resign on Jan. 31, 2018. But just hours after POLITICO inquired about the allegations, he sped up his resignation and left office Friday.

The sources said Franks approached two female staffers about acting as a potential surrogate for him and his wife, who has struggled with fertility issues for years. But the aides were concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them. It was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization. Franks opposes abortion rights as well as procedures that discard embryos.

A former staffer also alleged that Franks tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they’re in love with someone, the sources said. One woman believed she was the subject of retribution after rebuffing Franks. While she enjoyed access to the congressman before the incident, that access was revoked afterward, she told Republican leaders.

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November jobs report shows continued job growth

Steve Benen has the November jobs report. Job growth remains strong, but short of last year’s pace:

Headed into this morning, the consensus forecasts pointed to job growth in November at about 261,000. We didn’t quite reach that total, but we got close.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 228,000 jobs in November, which is down slightly from October, but which is nevertheless a strong total reflecting a healthy market. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%, which is very low.

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The revisions from the previous two months were mixed, with September’s totals revised up a little, but October’s totals revised down a little. Combined, they pointed to an addition 3,000 jobs added to the overall totals.

Providing some additional context, the U.S. added 1.97 million jobs over the first 11 months of 2012, 2.24 million over the first 11 months of 2013, 2.78 million over the first 11 months of 2014, 2.47 million over the first 11 months of 2015, 2.08 million over the first 11 months of 2016, and 1.91 million over the first 11 months of 2017.

Or put another way, while this year has been pretty good for job creation, we’re nevertheless on pace to see the slowest job growth since 2011.

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