Republicans released their “framework” for tax reform Wednesday, combining corporate tax cuts with simplification of individual rates and deductions. The stakes couldn’t be higher for the GOP, with at least hundreds of billions of stock market wealth at stake, not to mention the party’s reputation. Republicans and President Trump have almost no legislative accomplishments to show for their first eight months in office, and are laying their hopes now on tax reform to finally come up with a substantive win. But the broadly outlined plan leaves a lot of details to be finalized by congressional committees, including what deductions stay and go, and the specific income break-downs for the streamlined tax brackets. It makes it difficult, if not impossible, to gauge the benefit or cost on individual taxpayers, though the budget impact is likely to be significant.
Tuesday’s victory by challenger Roy Moore in the Alabama Republican Senate primary runoff is a warning to establishment Republicans, who again found themselves defeated by a populist candidate. Trump, who backed incumbent Luther Strange, may have lost, but Trumpism won — and the president and his team were quick to embrace Moore Tuesday. But Moore has a long and colorful history of inflammatory statements and actions that could blow back on the GOP, while his victory is emboldening other would-be Republican primary challengers. Expect more GOP lawmakers to be looking toward the exits as a result.
The GOP’s Obamacare plans are dead — for now. Mueller’s investigation moves to the White House. And Trump keeps on the NFL.
Here are your must reads:
The Republican Fight to Repeal Obamacare Is ‘Dead as a Doornail.’ For Now
Its future is uncertain [TIME]
Roy Moore’s Victory in Alabama Is Bad News for the Establishment GOP
TIME’s Maya Rhodan on the warning to the mainstream GOP
Special Counsel Interviews With White House Staff Could Start Later This Week
A new phase of the investigation [CNN]
Trump Backs Off Vow That Private Sector Should Help Pay for Infrastructure Package
What had seemed to be an opportunity for bipartisan moves to the back-burner [Washington Post]
Price’s Private-Jet Travels Included Visits With Colleagues, Lunch With Son
The HHS secretary sometimes combined official travel and meetings with friends and family [Politico]
“Bannon and Breitbart are no longer just the most hated names inside the Beltway. Now, they are also the most feared.” — Breitbart News after Roy Moore’s win
“Congratulations Roy Moore! We are thrilled you ran on the #MAGA agenda & we are for you!” — Vice President Mike Pence embracing the controversial candidate he campaigned against 24 hours before
Bits and Bites
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker Will Not Seek Reelection in 2018 [Associated Press]
After Alabama, GOP anti-establishment wing declares all-out war in 2018 [Washington Post]
Trump defends NFL stance at GOP donor dinner [Politico]