Quick Takes: A Chorus of ‘We Don’t Know’ on Tax Cuts

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Sahil Kapur brings us what rank and file members of the Republican caucus are saying about their party’s tax cut plan.

“We don’t know the brackets,” Representative Chris Collins of New York, a Trump ally, told reporters after a Republican conference meeting Tuesday. “We don’t know where we are on estate taxes. We don’t know where we are on” the state and local tax deduction — a contentious issue for members like Collins from high-tax states.

“We don’t know where we are on the size of the child tax credit,” he continued. “We don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know.”…

One member of [the Ways and Means] committee, Representative Dave Schweikert of Arizona, responded succinctly when asked what issues are still outstanding: “All of them.”

* Erik Wemple brings us another distortion in John Solomon’s reporting about the FBI’s investigation into the racketeering scheme of Russian officials involved in uranium distribution. He points out that Solomon’s original article contained this statement:

But the Justice Department and FBI took little credit in 2014 when Mikerin, the Russian financier and the trucking firm executives were arrested and charged.

The only public statement occurred a year later when the Justice Department put out a little-noticed press release in August 2015, just days before Labor Day.

This is Wemple’s response:

Oh really! Pause for a second and ponder the illogic in the text here. The Hill is writing that the issuance of a press release counts as evidence that the Justice Department was taking “little credit” for its work. Wouldn’t the act of not issuing a press release be better evidence thereof? Or how about just not pursuing the case at all?

There’s a further problem with this radical conspiracy: There were three press releases on the Mikerin case — one covering the charges in the case; one covering the plea deal; and one covering the sentencing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland published them; they were hosted on the site of the FBI’s Washington field office; and, as the Hill noted, Justice Department headquarters issued a release on the plea deals.

Does that sound like a federal law-enforcement apparatus bent on hiding something?

* When it comes to Sen. Jeff Flake, I agree 100% with this from Greg Dworkin:

Pro tip: if you want more to speak out, don’t immediately dump on them for their previous sin of being conservative Republicans. Yeah, i know all about their voting record. I know who they are. I’m not asking you to be them. But do you want to be right, or do you want them to speak out?

OTOH, the silent ones hoping for advancement and achievement? We have a term for the silent Germans during the Nazi era. They’re called Nazis.

* CBO scored the bipartisan fix to Obamacare that was negotiated by Senators Murray and Alexander.

A bipartisan bill to stabilize Obamacare would cut the federal deficit by $3.8 billion but wouldn’t do much to change health insurance premiums for 2018, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. It would not substantially change the number of people who are covered.

* Regardless of how loud the nostalgia voters complain, some things continue to change.

More Americans than ever think marijuana should be legal, according to a new Gallup poll that found a majority of Republicans supporting legalization for the first time ever.

The 64 percent of Americans who told Gallup they support making marijuana legal is the most in the nearly 50 years Gallup has asked the question. It also represents a more-than-fivefold increase over the 12 percent of Americans who said they supported legalization the first time Gallup asked, in 1969.

* That Gallup poll indicates that there would probably be strong public support for this, but not until Jeff Sessions is no longer the Attorney General.

Elections matter!

* Finally, RIP Fats Domino. Here is what most experts consider to be the first rock ‘n roll song from 1949.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.