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Democrats poised to cave on tax cuts, extend temporarily for rich

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WASHINGTON — After months of wrangling with Republicans over whether or not to extend tax cuts for the wealthy, Democrats are reportedly ready to throw in the towel and let them continue temporarily.

The Wall Street Journal reports Thursday that the “likely outcome” — as negotiations suggest — “includes a one- to three-year extension of the Bush-era income tax rates and a two-year extension of the business provisions, according to aides.”

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Senate Republicans on Wednesday circulated a letter threatening gridlock on every Democratic initiative in the Congressional lame duck session until the majority party accepts additional tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of income earners.

Meanwhile, the White House has promised to try and compromise with Republicans on the issue. “We’re in the midst of productive discussions and negotiations around what I think everybody agrees is an issue that has to get done in taxes,” said spokesman Robert Gibbs. “I think we can get some substantive agreements.”

The tax breaks in dispute, enacted by the Bush administration, affect individual income earned above $200,000 and family income above $250,000. The Obama administration and Democratic leadership favor letting them expire on December 31, after which the top marginal tax rate would rise by 3 percent. Republicans adamantly support extending them.

Progressives have painted the measure as a deficit-busting giveaway to millionaires and billionaires that will do little for economic growth, while conservatives portray it as vital to job creation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates it will cost $70 billion annually while having a minimal stimulative impact on the economy.

Underscoring the upper-hand Democrats have in this debate are various public opinion polls, which in recent months have consistently shown Americans to be highly supportive of letting the high-end tax cuts expire as scheduled.

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But Democrats have ambitions to extend unemployment benefits as well as repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” and pass the DREAM Act in the lame duck session, and perhaps the party’s key players believe compromising on this issue might ease up the Republican blockade.

Democrats and Republicans do, however, agree on extending the tax cuts for the middle class, which are also set to expire on December 31. The GOP has threatened to vote against any measure that doesn’t also include continuing them for the wealthy.

House Democrats intend to hold a vote on a measure Thursday that would extend only the middle-class tax cuts but, it’s unclear whether it has the necessary support to pass.

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Louisiana Democrat re-elected governor — despite Trump’s rallies for the Republican candidate

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The Associated Press has called the Lousiana's governor's race for incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards.

Edwards triumphed over Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who called to concede.

The outcome is another major political loss for President Donald Trump, who had held multiple campaign rallies for Rispone.

During his most recent rally, Trump begged the crowd to give him a "big win" in the election.

Eddie Rispone has conceded the #lagov race to Gov. John Bel Edwards, giving the Democrat four more years in ruby red Louisiana despite Trump’s best efforts to flip the seat. Edwards camp says Rispone called minutes ago to concede. #lagov #lalege

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Press secretary says it is ‘dangerous for the country’ to question whether she is putting out honest info

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Press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Saturday argued it was "dangerous for the country" for anyone to challenge the veracity of her claims.

Grisham made her argument after President Donald Trump went to Walter Reed Hospital for an unannounced doctor's visit, resulting in a great deal of speculation.

Following the visit, Grisham claimed Trump was "healthy" and "without complaints" -- a claim many found unlikely as the president has spent a good deal of time as president airing his many grievances.

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Sondland used WhatsApp to communicate with Ukraine — and won’t turn over the messages: report

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland used WhatsApp to send encrypted messages to a top Ukranian official, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The communication occurred with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, when Sondland was in Kyiv, the newspaper reported.

"Sondland was also texting back and forth on WhatsApp with Yermak throughout the trip, and had been communicating with other Ukrainian officials over the messaging app in the preceding and subsequent months, according to people familiar with his interactions," The Post reported.

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