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GOP’s new tax bill is so unpopular even they hate it

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On Thursday, Republicans in the House of Representatives unveiled their much-anticipated tax plan — and it’s already wildly unpopular, according to Vanity Fair‘s Bess Levin.

“The ungracefully titled Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Levin said, is “as ungainly and inequitable as the rushed process to write it.”

The proposed tax act is a last-ditch effort by the Trump administration and the GOP House to push through some kind of legislative achievement by the end of the year after their failure to repeal Obamacare, secure funding for Trump’s proposed border wall or fulfill any of the president’s other campaign promises.

However, like the failed Obamacare repeal attempts that came before it, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a slapdash effort, cobbled together hastily and in secret, then foisted on the public with an urgent deadline — and about as little support.

“Already, Republicans are clashing over the details of a bill that would dramatically cut taxes for corporations, boost the rich, hurt many members of the middle class, and blow out the budget deficit, potentially putting the kibosh on the president‘s wildly optimistic timeline,” said Levin.

NBC News said that public support of the plan is “underwater,” meaning that more people disapprove than approve. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that “25 percent call Trump’s tax plan a good idea, versus 35 percent who call it a bad idea (-10). And nearly four-in-10 Americans — 39 percent — do not have an opinion.”

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Grand political initiatives that debut to this sort of lackluster public reception — like Pres. George W. Bush’s initiative to privatize Social Security — typically do not, in the end, become laws.

Furthermore, as Bloomberg News said, “the ink was barely dry on the first draft when at least four Republicans declared they would vote against the bill in its current form” due to its elimination of state and local tax deductions, which would dramatically raise taxes in some states.

Rep. Thomas MacArthur (R-NJ) said that the bill’s authors lied to him about capping the mortgage interest deduction rate at $500,000 — down from $1,000,000.

“Nobody knew that was in there,” MacArthur told Bloomberg. “They kept that from us and I don’t appreciate that.”

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Special interest groups like the National Association of Realtors, the National Federation of Independent Business and Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity have spoken out against various provisions in the bill.

“Trump has staked his presidency on his ability to cut taxes, which Republicans have convinced themselves is the key to re-election, all polls to the contrary,” Levin wrote. “But even if the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act can make it through the House, it may be dead on arrival in the Senate, where Republicans will likely have zero Democratic support.”

Vocal Trump detractors in the Senate like Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Bob Corker (R-TN) have said they refuse to sign any tax bill that adds to the deficit. Maine’s Susan Collins, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and even President Trump’s daughter Ivanka have expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of the tax bill.

So, while the official outlook from Republicans in the House is “generally positive,” Levin said, it’s “painfully evident” that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act faces a tough, uphill slog to passage.

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Retired admiral could pose serious threat if he decides to run against Iowa Republican: report

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On Wednesday, Iowa Starting Line reported that Ret. Adm. Michael Franken is in talks with state and national Democrats about challenging GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

Franken, who has served as Deputy for Military Operations for AFRICOM, Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy, hails from Sioux Center, a town in the deeply conservative northwest part of the state.

Ernst, who first gained national attention for her 2014 campaign ad about castrating hogs, is a reliable vote for President Donald Trump in the Senate, and the president's poor approval ratings in Iowa have left Democrats hopeful that they can defeat her.

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Here’s why Trump and Putin are only frenemies at this point

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President Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran has hit an obstacle: Russia.

While the United States insists that Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone in international airspace last week, Russia rejected the charge on Tuesday and supported Iran’s claim that the Global Hawk drone with a 116-foot wingspan was shot down over Iranian territory.

A top Russian official stated Moscow’s intelligence findings at a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday, according to Haaretz, the Israeli daily.

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2020 Election

How the GOP is embracing more ruthless power grabs in the face of huge political challenges

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On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases highlighting the collision between partisan power grabs and setting the ground rules for two of the most important elections in America—those for U.S. House and state legislative chambers.

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

One ruling concerns whether the Trump administration can add a question to the 2020 census that asks if anyone residing in that address is not a U.S. citizen. The other concerns whether hyper-partisanship is unconstitutional when state legislatures run by a single party draw electoral districts to maximize their party’s likelihood of winning elections.

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