1. The fate of tax reform.
House and Senate Republicans had hoped to unveil a compromise tax bill today but now face uncertainty as some hold-out votes emerge.
- On Wednesday Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he would vote no on the tax bill unless it includes a greater expansion of the child care tax credit.
- A provision that would impose a minimum tax on certain lending institutions and devalue wind and solar tax credits remains up in the air. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said negotiators are still trying to address this provision that would dry up “a $12 billion tax equity market.”
- Republicans want to keep their promise to send Pres. Trump a tax bill by Christmas, and believe they’re on track to pass the compromise bill out of the Senate on Monday and the House on Tuesday.
2. Net neutrality.
The FCC voted Thursday to repeal Obama-era net neutrality regulations.
- Opponents of the repeal have already begun seeking grounds for legal action against the FCC, and the issue will likely see further action in court and in the legislature.
- The 3-2 FCC vote has been slammed by content providers and tech giants like Amazon and Netflix, but praised by Internet service providers. The repeal will go into effect in 2018, so nothing is set in stone quite yet.
- FCC Chairman Ajit Pai created a video of himself promoting the new FCC rules; however, the creators of the viral “Harlem Shake” have issued a notice of takedown and plan to sue if necessary for the use of their song in the video.
3. Tainted Russia probe?
Senate Republicans are working to maintain the validity of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe amid growing resentment within the GOP.
- Many Republicans say that Mueller’s investigation is inherently biased against Pres. Trump after text messages emerged in which two investigators referred to the president as an “idiot.” One of the agents had already ended her assignment in Mueller’s office, and Mueller removed the other from the investigation immediately.
- Now House and Senate Republicans are at odds over whether to call in a new special investigator to investigate Mueller and his team. House Republicans want new counsel to investigate Mueller’s team’s anti-Trump sentiments, while the Senate is fighting “to preserve Mueller’s ability to steer the Russia investigation to its conclusion.”
4. ACA enrollment.
Today is the last day to sign up for healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
- Right now 2018 ACA enrollment is up from this time last year, but will likely ultimately fall short of last year’s numbers due to the shortened enrollment window. A total of 4.7 million Americans had signed up for coverage as of last Saturday.
- Earlier this week North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wrote a letter to the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking for a one-week enrollment extension. Cooper said an extension to Dec. 22 would benefit people across the country, but has not yet received a response.
- As healthcare policy is likely to shift with passage of tax reform, consumers could see changes in coverage options and insurers will likely raise premiums.
5. Trump & Putin.
Pres. Trump and Russian president Vladmir Putin spoke on the phone earlier this week amid a heightened investigation into potential collusion during the 2016 election.