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On the roster: Sen. Ron Johnson first to oppose tax package – Alabama state Republicans yet to speak out on Moore – House Dems promote new candidates for 2018 – Mueller shifts focus to foreign lobbying – But where’s the toast?
SEN. RON JOHNSON FIRST TO OPPOSE TAX PACKAGE
WSJ: “Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) said he opposes the Senate Republican tax package, saying it unfairly benefits corporations more than other types of businesses. ‘If they can pass it without me, let them,’ Mr. Johnson said in an interview. ‘I’m not going to vote for this tax package.’ Mr. Johnson’s position could undermine the Senate’s efforts to pass a tax plan by early December or get the bill to President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas. … Other Senate Republicans have expressed concerns. Jeff Flake of Arizona, for example, has worried about deficits and Susan Collins of Maine has worried about Republican plans to repeal the insurance coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act as part of a tax overhaul. Until now, no Senate Republican has come out definitively against the GOP tax plan. The risk for Senate Republican leaders is that other Republicans get behind Mr. Johnson’s opposition.”
Ryan says including ObamaCare repeal would have complicated vote – Fox News: “House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told a Fox News town hall Tuesday that Republicans did not include a provision to repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate in the House tax reform bill because ‘we didn’t want to needlessly complicate’ a vote on the measure later this week. ‘The House did this already,’ Ryan told hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum in Herndon, Va. ‘The House passed our health care bill back in May, which repealed the individual mandate. So, we’re on record in favor of this.’ Ryan spoke hours after Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee said they would insert a provision repealing the health care requirement into their bill in an attempt to finance the legislation’s deep tax cuts. … The House is expected to vote on its tax bill later this week.”
Perry Bacon Jr.: ‘Taking on Obamacare with tax reform may backfire for Republicans’ – FiveThirtyEight: “There is an obvious policy rationale for their move. Republicans are trying to find ways to raise government revenue to limit how much the federal deficit would increase if their proposed tax cuts for both individuals and corporations went into effect. In a report this month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate (the requirement that people purchase health insurance or pay a fine) would save the government $338 billion over the next 10 years. That’s because without the requirement, the CBO calculates that 13 million Americans would not get any insurance, thereby saving the federal government from the costs for people whose coverage (either via Medicaid or the health care exchanges established under Obamacare) is heavily subsidized by taxpayers.”
Pence meets with CEOs in effort to sell tax plan – WSJ: “Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday he believes that Republicans will secure the votes to pass a tax overhaul that is now making its way through Congress, whatever the outcome of the volatile Senate race in Alabama. Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council gathering, Mr. Pence also called on the business executives in the audience to help make the case for passage of the tax plan. He exhorted them to talk to employees and suppliers and to hold “town hall” style events in company cafeterias to build momentum…”
THE RULEBOOK: POWER IN NUMBERS
“The true patriots have long bewailed the fatal tendency of these vices, and have made no less than four regular experiments by EXTRAORDINARY ASSEMBLIES, convened for the special purpose, to apply a remedy.” – Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Federalist No. 20
TIME OUT: CUE HAMILTON
History: “After 16 months of debate, the Continental Congress, sitting in its temporary capital of York, Pennsylvania, agrees to adopt the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union on this day in 1777. Not until March 1, 1781, would the last of the 13 states, Maryland, ratify the agreement. In 1777, Patriot leaders, stinging from British oppression, were reluctant to establish any form of government that might infringe on the right of individual states to govern their own affairs. The Articles of Confederation, then, provided for only a loose federation of American states. Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.”
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Trump net job-approval rating: -20 points
Change from one week ago: up 0.4 points
[President Trump’s score is determined by subtracting his average job disapproval rating in the five most recent, methodologically sound public polls from his average approval rating, calculated in the same fashion.]
ALABAMA STATE REPUBLICANS YET TO SPEAK OUT ON MOORE
WaPo: “The chorus of national Republican leaders speaking out against Alabama GOP nominee Roy Moore after allegations of sexual misconduct grew louder Tuesday… But this growing criticism has yet to sweep over key Republicans in Alabama, many of whom are standing by the former judge or staying silent on the controversy. … Republican officials in Alabama continued to express skepticism about the accusations made against Moore, saying that they are still waiting for the evidence to back up the allegations. ‘As of today, with the information that’s been introduced to me, and if these charges are not proven to be true, then I would continue to support and vote for Judge Moore,’ Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) said Tuesday in an interview with CNN. Others in the state said that there is little that can be done, as the Dec. 12 election to fill the seat vacated by Sessions earlier this year approaches.”
Senate Republicans believe Trump is last hope for ousting Moore – AP: “Having pushed publicly and privately for Moore to get out of the race, Republicans believe their last best shot is Trump, who they hope can persuade his fellow political rebel to fall in line. Trump has given little indication of whether he’s interested in playing the role of party heavy. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has echoed other Republican leaders, saying last Friday that Moore should step aside if the allegations are true. But as other Republicans began to call for Moore to quit the race, Trump was notably silent in public. On Tuesday, he didn’t address the issue when he spoke with reporters aboard Air Force One as he flew back to Washington, nor did he respond to shouted questions about Moore as he entered the White House that night.”
Bannon isn’t going anywhere – Politico: “Steve Bannon is not backing away from Roy Moore, the controversial Alabama Senate candidate facing a slew of accusations that he had inappropriate sexual contact with teenagers. Two sources close to the former White House chief strategist and Trump campaign CEO … swatted down speculation that Bannon was reevaluating his support for Moore in the wake of the allegations. ‘It is 100% fake news that Steve Bannon would abandon Judge Moore,’ said a source familiar with Bannon’s thinking, comparing the situation with the Access Hollywood video scandal that prompted calls for Donald Trump to drop out of the presidential race. ‘He is standing with Judge Moore through thick and through thin. The polls show the people of Alabama believe Judge Moore is innocent until proven guilty…’ the source added.”
HOUSE DEMS PROMOTE NEW CANDIDATES FOR 2018
The Hill: “House Democrats’ campaign arm has named the first round of candidates to its ‘Red to Blue’ program as the party looks to highlight promising Democratic challengers ahead of the 2018 midterms. All but one of the 11 candidates highlighted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) are running against GOP incumbents. Only three in districts that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won in 2016, suggesting that they face a tougher path to victory. But Democrats are emboldened by the early signs from these campaigns, as well as the national trends tilting in the party’s direction… ‘The House is in play in 2018 and incredible Democratic challengers are stepping up to run across the largest offensive battlefield in a decade. These candidates have their own unique experiences rooted in these districts, but what they all have in common are records of service to their communities and our country,’ DCCC chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement.”
MUELLER SHIFTS FOCUS TO FOREIGN LOBBYING
The Hill: “The cottage industry of foreign lobbying is taking center stage as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates the activities of people in President Trump’s orbit. Foreign advocacy work in Washington is common, lucrative and occasionally controversial, but has rarely received the front-page scrutiny it’s attracting now. … The Hill spoke with a half-dozen foreign agents for this story. Most of them requested anonymity to speak freely about their thinking and about foreign advocacy work in general. Working as a foreign agent has long been a profitable niche. While there are smaller-dollar contracts, foreign entities will sometimes pay firms $100,000 or more per month for representation in Washington. Domestic clients typically pay much less. But taking on these kinds of clients comes with its own risks, both legally and otherwise. Lobbyists have to make tough decisions about what clients to accept, given the possible damage to their reputation if they are seen as helping corrupt or repressive actors overseas.”
House Democrats file articles of impeachment against President Trump – Fox News
Pence heads to Texas to speak at Republican Governors Association gathering – AP
Mnuchin, wife raise eyebrows with big money photo op – Fox News
Consumer chief Richard Cordray resigning to run for Ohio governor – AP
AUDIBLE: ‘HE’S DRINKING WATER, WATER, WATER’
“There is no water.” – President Trump said as he reached for a bottle of water during his White House address regarding his recent trip to Asia.
[Ed. Note: Chris Stirewalt has gone off to look for America (and likely eat chicken wings). He will return on Thursday, November 16, ready to answer your correspondence.]
BUT WHERE’S THE TOAST?
UPI: “A New York commuter captured video of a sight that seemed uniquely appropriate for a Brooklyn subway station: A rat carrying an avocado. Jessica Edwards posted a video to Instagram showing the rodent — dubbed Avocado Rat by commenters in honor of New York’s famous Pizza Rat — dashing down the subway tracks at Brooklyn’s Greenpoint Ave. station while carrying an avocado half. ‘Even the rats in #nyc are on trend,’ Edwards wrote. … Edwards said she spotted the rat on the G train platform about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The video, which quickly went viral, recalled the viral fame of Pizza Rat, a rat filmed carrying a whole slice of pizza at a New York subway station in 2015.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Thanks to all of you for your cards, letters and good wishes. I am still recovering from major surgery 12 weeks ago. I have graduated from the [Intensive Care Unit] to an advanced rehab facility to regain my strength and stamina. It’s a longer road than anticipated but the support of family friends and kindly viewers continue to sustain me. In the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘I’ll be back.’” – A note from Charles Krauthammer shared by Bret Baier Tuesday evening. Charles has been recovering from major surgery and we look forward to his return.
Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.