Over Protests, Republicans Move the Bill Out of the Budget Committee; Next Stop, the Senate Floor
Tax plan moves forward. Amid loud protests from the public, the Senate Budget Committee voted along party lines to advance the Republican tax scheme benefiting corporations and the super-wealthy and increasing the deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. A vote by the full Senate could come later this week.
The Senate bill would cut the corporate tax rate to 20% from a top rate of 35% and temporarily cuts some individual rates.
Lawmakers are waiting for a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation that would show the effects of the proposed tax cuts on the economy. Outside analysts expect the report to show that the bill doesn’t create enough growth to generate revenues to offset those lost to tax cuts.
Lower-income households would average $50 in cuts while the top 1% would see more than $34,000 a year. Democratic leaders appeared to have few procedural maneuvers left to slow the progress of the tax bill.
Capitol Police said they arrested 36 people protesting outside the committee room. They were arrested on charges of disrupting Congress in their protest of the bill. Two of the demonstrators were charged with resisting arrest.
CFPB showdown. A federal judge refused to block Trump’s choice of budget director Mick Mulvaney from serving as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog agency that extremist Republicans hope to weaken.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, denied the request by Leandra English, the No. 2 official at the bureau, for a temporary restraining order.
Even before the decision, Mulvaney was moving aggressively to reshape the agency. On his first day in the office, he announced a 30-day freeze on the issuance of new rules and hiring. On Tuesday, he started a new Twitter account—@CFPBdirector—and posted a picture of himself at a desk with an American flag in the background.
The bureau was created after the financial crisis to target unfair or abusive practices by financial institutions. Longtime director Richard Cordray resigned Friday and promoted his chief of staff, English, to be deputy director, saying she would be acting director until the Senate confirms a replacement. Trump appointed Mulvaney.
North Korean missiles. The entire U.S. mainland is likely within the range of North Korean missiles. The country tested its most powerful nuclear device yet on Sept. 2, a blast seven times the size of the bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima. A missile launched Wednesday went 2,796 miles, nearly straight up to avoid other countries. A physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists calculated that if the missile had been launched on a flatter trajectory, it could have flown 8,100 miles, far enough to reach anywhere in the United States. No one outside North Korea knows if the missiles have a viable reentry vehicle that could deliver a warhead to a target.
Keystone. TransCanada can restart the Keystone pipeline but at 20% reduced pressure, according to an order from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The agency said using the pipeline section that leaked “without correction action is or would be hazardous to life, property, or the environment.” An estimated 210,000 gallons of oil leaked in South Dakota. The company shut down the entire pipeline, which runs from Canada’s Alberta region to the Gulf Coast refineries, on Nov. 16.