We got a bit of a timeline on how this whole process might go down yesterday. Here's what we think might happen:
• Rep. Brady plans to release text next week, probably Wednesday the 1st
• House Ways & Means plans to mark up early the following week, possibly Tuesday the 7th
• They expect it to be a one day markup
• Senate Finance Committee won’t mark up until the conclusion of the House W&M markup
• As soon as the House W&M markup is done, SFC would mark up – likely the week of Nov. 13th (SFC majority staff have indicated they could also possibly go later in the week of the 7th, we think that’s probably unlikely)
• SFC will have an original Senate product separate from the House product
• SFC does “conceptual” markups, without leg text, so there won’t be leg text as they are marking up…won’t have it until after SFC reports out
This is a VERY ambitious timeline, and there are already opposing voices speaking up on the GOP side in the House and the Senate. The big challenge in the Senate will be to make whatever this bill is deficit-neutral (a little hard to do when you're chopping the government's income, aka cutting taxes), and House GOPers have issues with the State and Local deductions, among other things.
I think we might hear from the judge today about the 18-state lawsuit against the Administration's cuts to CSRs and promotional material for the ACA...unless I missed it yesterday in all the chaos that was going on here.
Alexander-Murray CBO score is up here https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53232
Seems like this is a little misleading because CBO didn't adjust their baseline to reflect the Administration cutting the CSRs in the first place. Not sure what the result of that will be.
There is a LOT going on here right now, so I'll just quickly run through it.
- Yesterday the House Intel Committee Chairman (who supposedly "recused" himself from Russia-related stuff) announced a multi-committee investigation into the Clinton campaign and emails.
- No sooner did that happen, then WaPo came out with an article that the Clinton campaign and the DNC, along with anti-Trump GOPers paid for portions of the research that led to the Trump Dossier. Here's the article that details that: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/clinton-campaign-dnc-paid-for-research-that-led-to-russia-dossier/2017/10/24/226fabf0-b8e4-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.9341ae875942
- Why this is important now: Clinton lawyers and spokespeople, back in 2016, when asked by the press about the research that led to this dossier, lied about their campaign's involvement in it. The current DNC chairman and a former spokesman for the Clinton campaign have both denied knowledge and involvement in this, which suggests that it was only known by the very high levels of both organizations.
- Exact dollar amounts that went to this were not disclosed, but if I were a Clinton/DNC donor (I'm not and never have been), I would be pretty outraged that my money went to something that proved unverified and ineffective in the end, and ALSO wrapped up in a larger scandal that's now being used to smear the Democratic presidential nominee even further.
- A reporter from Mother Jones is also annoyed because he reported on this issue LAST YEAR, and more importantly, shortly before the election. Here is his piece: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/veteran-spy-gave-fbi-info-alleging-russian-operation-cultivate-donald-trump/
On a separate but similar topic...
- The Senate Judiciary Committee's investigation into Trump's obstruction of justice has taken a turn for the partisan since Jeff Sessions' most recent testimony. Republicans and Democrats on the Committee that once worked well together have now said that they'll be conducting their own investigation - sounding a lot like the House side investigations that are happening. Here's the piece on that: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/the-senate-judiciary-committees-russia-probe-just-blew-up/
- This only emphasizes the urgent need for an independent commission, similar to the one which investigated Benghazi. It's clear Congress can't get over the partisan bickering, with the single exception of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Yesterday's drama in the Senate brought this place to a grinding halt, with Corker's morning outburst and then Flake's retirement announcement. If you haven't had a chance to watch his floor speech, do. It was poignant, emotional, solemn, and truly one of the more memorable speeches given from that floor.
While a lot on the left are hailing these guys heroes of the Resistance, let's not get carried away. What they've both done is brave, but it would have been braver to speak out AND keep their seats in the Senate. Also, let's not count on them really derailing from the Trump agenda in their last few months in office.
So take it all with a grain of salt. If you're represented by either of these two guys, definitely give them a call to say thank you, but let's not kid ourselves. These guys are as conservative as it gets.
The Senate passed a big package of aid money for Puerto Rico and California, with another request from the Administration expected next month, again in the 10s of billions. This time though, they're expected to want offsets for the spending, so heads up for that.
Will keep you posted today, stay tuned.