Republicans again face defections on a top priority. This time, tax cuts.


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Republicans are once again struggling to get the votes they need to pass one of their own top priorities—in this case, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The House needs to pass the Senate’s budget resolution to allow Senate Republicans to use reconciliation to pass the tax cuts with 51 rather than 60 votes. But there’s a sticking point in the House: Republicans from higher-taxed states are worried about the elimination of a provision that currently allows people to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes.

“I need to know what the endgame is going to look like if I’m going to vote on it,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the bloc of concerned Republicans. MacArthur attended a White House meeting on the issue Tuesday where he said he “didn’t make the progress I had hoped for.” […]

Three

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Morning Digest: Ralph Northam wins Democratic nod while Ed Gillespie squeaks past Corey Stewart


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The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

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VA-Gov: On Tuesday, both parties held primaries for this November’s race to replace termed-out Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated ex-Rep. Tom Perriello 56-44. But the GOP contest was unexpectedly a cliffhanger, with ex-Republican National Committee head Ed Gillespie, who was Team Red’s 2014 Senate nominee, defeating Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart just 43.7-42.5.

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While Perriello quickly endorsed Northam on Tuesday night, Stewart took a very different approach. Stewart told his supporters following his defeat, “There is one word you will never hear from me, and that’s ‘unity’,” and he continued by declaring, “We’ve been backing down too long.

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Republicans betray their gray-haired base with Trumpcare


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Ever since Donald Trump’s shocking victory on Election Day, press, pundits, and pollsters have engaged in a furious debate about which voters propelled him to the White House. Was Trump’s win the revenge of the “guns and bitter crowd” in the Rust Belt, the white working-class voters whose racism, xenophobia and/or “economic anxiety” led them to pull the lever in 2016 for the reality TV star? Or was the Republican’s core support throughout the primaries and the general election made up of more affluent and suburban backers? And as Trump’s approval ratings continue to spiral downward to levels not seen since George W. Bush ambled out of the Oval Office, can he continue to count on an unshakeable “floor” of 35 to 40 percent support?

While these are all interesting questions, one thing is certain. Donald Trump, like Republicans nationwide over the past decade, has enjoyed

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CBO: Conservative Bulls**t Obliterator


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This past week was a very big one for some very big promises from Republicans in Washington. It didn’t go well for them.

Three weeks after House Republicans voted to pass a new version of their “American Health Care Act,” the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) weighed in on high-profile pledges from President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. While Trump guaranteed “insurance for everybody” that is “much less expensive and much better,” Ryan insisted the revised AHCA “protects people with pre-existing conditions.” Not content to rest there, HHS Secretary Tom Price boasted that Trumpcare’s $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid will “absolutely not” result in millions losing coverage.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration also unveiled its fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. With its draconian spending cuts to the social safety net programs, the White House blueprint was proclaimed “dead on arrival” even by some Republicans. But more embarrassing

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Morning Digest: New poll finds Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally could be vulnerable


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AZ-02: Another PPP poll pitting a generic Democratic challenger against a Republican House incumbent from the new progressive group Save My Care once again—as you’d expect—finds dismal news for Republicans. This time, the target Save My Care has in its sights is Rep. Martha McSally, who became the poster child for the GOP’s reckless charge to repeal Obamacare when she reportedly exhorted her colleagues just before the vote with the Leeroy Jenkins-style battle cry, “Let’s get this fucking thing done!”

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McSally could wind up done next year, too, since she currently trails an unnamed “Democratic opponent” 50-43. Now, don’t get too excited: The other day, after Save My Care released a similar poll in Nevada, we explained why generic tests like these must be viewed with great caution. However, there’s another result from this survey that should actually worry McSally even

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House Republican: ‘We don’t oversee the executive.’ Civics 101 says yes, you do.


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Rep. Tom MacArthur, the Republican who put his name on the Trumpcare amendment weakening protections for people with pre-existing conditions, faced a tough town hall crowd on Wednesday. While MacArthur rightly caught hell over his Trumpcare role, he also rejected calls for a special prosecutor to look into Trump-Russia ties, and showed that even members of Congress can be seriously in need of a Civics 101 lesson:

“We don’t oversee the executive,” he added, earning a round of loud boos from the audience. “Congress is not the board of directors of the White House.”

Ah, screw checks and balances! Never heard of ‘em! 

Granted, the “House Oversight Committee” isn’t doing much oversight at the moment since it’s controlled by Republicans who aren’t interested in knowing what Donald Trump is doing. But it is a thing that exists, and if a Democrat was in the White House you’d

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Morning Digest: GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s retirement gives Democrats a huge pickup opportunity


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FL-27: In a major surprise, veteran Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced on Sunday that she would not seek another term next year. Ros-Lehtinen had consistency won with ease in her Miami-area House district since her victory in a special election all the way back in 1989. However, this seat, which includes parts of downtown Miami, Miami Beach, and Coral Gables, proved that it did not like Donald Trump whatsoever last year.

While Florida as a whole swung from 50-49 Obama to 49-47 Trump, the 27th District violently lurched in the opposite direction, going from 53-46 Obama all the way to 59-39 Clinton, making this the bluest seat held by a Republican anywhere in the nation. Despite that dramatic shift, Ros-Lehtinen won re-election 55-45, running a massive 30 point points ahead of Trump—a testament to her personal popularity. While Democrats might have targeted this district in 2018

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Anti-Trumpcare ad will greet seven House Republicans home for recess


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Seven House Republicans in competitive districts aren’t going to be able to hide from their support for—or even their cowardly silence on—Trumpcare. As they go home for a two-week recess, more than $1 million in ads are hitting the air to let voters know the score

“Congressman [Darrell] Issa promised to protect our health care, but when right-wing politicians tried to pass a disastrous health care repeal bill that raises cost and cuts coverage, Issa wouldn’t oppose them,” a male narrator intones as ominous music plays, in one version of the 30-second spot.

The ads target five Republican lawmakers from districts won by Hillary Clinton, including Issa, whose Orange County district Clinton carried by eight points. Other Republicans in Clinton-won districts include Arizona’s Martha McSally, Colorado’s Mike Coffman and Florida’s Carlos Curbelo and California’s David Valadao.

Two lawmakers from districts carried won by President Donald Trump — Florida’s

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Morning Digest: Seven California GOP representatives hold Clinton congressional districts


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Pres-by-CD: We continue on to New Jersey and some little state called California for our project to calculate the presidential election results by congressional district. We have a chart of all 435 congressional districts here, which also includes results from 2012. That’s the page you’ll want to bookmark, since we’re updating it continuously. We’ll be pushing out new data on a rolling basis as the final results are officially certified and the precinct-level election results we need for our calculations become available.

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We’ll start with New Jersey before venturing into California’s 53 congressional districts. (And they say New Jersey gets no respect.) Hillary Clinton carried the Garden State 55-41, a bit of a drop from Barack Obama’s 58-41 win in 2012. Clinton won seven of the state’s 12 congressional districts while Obama took eight, and there were quite a few swings in

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Morning Digest: New Jersey Democrats stick with Menendez—but could go down with the ship


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NJ-Sen: Sen. Bob Menendez may be under indictment on multiple counts of corruption, but a spokesperson says he “intends to run for re-election”—and New Jersey Democrats don’t seem to want it any other way. The Record canvassed a trio of congressmembers, all of whom are sticking with the incumbent: Bill Pascrell (“I don’t see any slippage at all”); Bonnie Watson Coleman (“He’s still a strong leader”); and Donald Norcross (“doing an excellent job”). The head of the state Sierra Club is also on Team Menendez.

But while New Jersey politicians are known for displaying loyalty in the face of corruption, it could come at a price. Menendez has spent the last year-and-a-half appealing his indictment with little success, and he faces a trial date in September of next year. If he’s found guilty, Democrats would have to scramble to find a mid-campaign

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Morning Digest: David Jolly busted for trying to scrub Scientology ties from his Wikipedia page


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FL-Sen: Rule no. 1 for political candidates: Never try to edit your own Wikipedia page. Rule no. 2: Definitely don’t try to scrub out references to your links with Scientology. And rule no. 3: For godsakes, don’t associate with those lunatic Scientology slave-lords in the first place! Republican Rep. David Jolly has, however, broken all three of these rules. Jolly’s ties to the “Church” of Scientology are long-established and well-known. The group has a prominent headquarters in the town of Clearwater, which is located in Jolly’s district, and Jolly has often participated in Scientology events: Just last year, he was feted as a “guest of honor” at a Scientology festival.

But the Scientologists have a justly abysmal reputation, so it’s no surprise that Jolly would want to conceal his relationship with the organization as he runs statewide. In classic fashion, though, an attempted cover-up has

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Morning Digest: Why the looming Trumpocalypse hasn’t yet put the House in play (and may not ever)


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NJ-02, 03: In just the last week, we’ve seen new chatter about the possibility that Donald Trump could put the House in play for Democrats, as non-partisan analysts, giddy liberals, and even some anguished Republicans have started wondering whether Trump could pull off such a remarkable feat. But while it’s certainly not impossible to imagine, any such conclusions are very premature. There’s still far too much we don’t know—and won’t know—unless and until Trump is the nominee (and of course, he may not be). Democrats have certainly bet wrong before on the effects a supposedly “unacceptable” Republican standard-bearer might have for his party.

But one thing we do know does not augur well for Democrats: Because a House takeover has seemed so remote this cycle, the party has struggled to land strong candidates in a large enough number of potentially competitive districts to even

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Morning Digest: Chuck Grassley gets his most formidable Democratic opponent in decades


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IA-Sen: On Friday, former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge announced that she would challenge Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. Even a few weeks ago, a campaign against the six-term senator would have looked beyond hopeless. While Iowa is a swing state that’s backed Democrats in six of the last seven presidential elections, Grassley has never won re-election with less than 60 percent of the vote.

But this contest got a bit more interesting when Senate Republicans joined hands to prevent Barack Obama from filling Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat. As the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley is no minor player in this fight. Judge specifically cited Grassley’s refusal to even grant the president’s eventual nominee a hearing, saying that Grassley has “waited 36 years to become the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and now he’s refusing to do his job. That is not the Chuck

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Morning Digest: Duckworth and Kirk both have huge leads three weeks ahead of primary


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IL-Sen: Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for Senate in Illinois, has just launched her first TV ad of the race, three weeks ahead of the March 15 primary. In the spot, the narrator talks about Duckworth’s difficult upbringing, saying her family “lost everything” after her father lost his job, then describes how Duckworth went on to serve in Congress “after recovering from being shot down in Iraq.” The ad doesn’t describe her devastating injuries (she lost both legs), but it does pan over some photographs where her prostheses are visible.

The second half offers some feel-good progressive boilerplate (“Tammy will work to make student loans affordable and retirement secure”), which feels like a bit of a missed opportunity to discuss Duckworth’s singular biography at greater length. The production values also aren’t as high as they could be, often relying

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Morning Digest: Black Lives Matter activist Deray Mckesson joins race for Baltimore mayor


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Baltimore, MD Mayor: On Wednesday, literally minutes before candidate filing closed, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson entered the crowded Democratic primary to become mayor of Baltimore. Mckesson gained prominence during the Ferguson protests in 2014, and he’s utilized social media to get his message out. (Hillary Clinton notably called him a “social media emperor.”) Mckesson, who is originally from Baltimore, was active in the demonstrations that followed after Freddie Gray died in police custody. Mckesson recently moved back to the city from the Midwest a few months ago.

The Democratic primary is April 26, and Mckesson faces plenty of competition. The best-known contender is ex-Mayor Sheila Dixon. Dixon resigned in 2009 after she was convicted of stealing gift cards that were supposed to help needy families. However, some early polls show her leading the rest of the field, and she has a

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