* Getting a budget passed in the House today was actually a bit of a close call.

House Republicans set the stage Thursday for an intense sprint toward a landmark tax overhaul, overcoming internal dissension and Democratic opposition to move forward with legislation that could cut revenues by up to $1.5 trillion over the coming decade.

Budget legislation passed Thursday will allow the GOP to pass its tax plan without Democratic help, but the close 216-212 House vote reflected ongoing tensions about the tax push among Republicans — and many expect the qualms to grow once draft legislation is released next week.

* That’s the shot. Here’s the chaser:

That would be in reference to the Republican plan to eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes.

* As Peter Baker reports, John Kelly is the man I thought he was.

For all of the talk of Mr. Kelly as a moderating force and the so-called grown-up in the room, it turns out that he harbors strong feelings on patriotism, national security and immigration that mirror the hard-line views of his outspoken boss. With his attack on a congresswoman who had criticized Mr. Trump’s condolence call to a slain soldier’s widow last week, Mr. Kelly showed that he was willing to escalate a politically distracting, racially charged public fight even with false assertions.

And in lamenting that the country no longer holds women, religion, military families or the dignity of life “sacred” the way it once did, Mr. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general whose son was killed in Afghanistan, waded deep into the culture wars in a way few chiefs of staff typically do. Conservatives cheered his defense of what they consider traditional American values, while liberals condemned what they deemed an outdated view of a modern, pluralistic society.

If you still hold any illusions about Kelly, you should follow the link and read the whole thing.

* Here is our president’s grand idea about how to fight the opioid crisis:

President Trump declared a “nationwide public-health emergency” on the opioid crisis today. Although the declaration doesn’t open up new funds (some estimate more than $9.3 billion is needed), Trump argued that “the federal government is aggressively fighting the opioid epidemic on all fronts.”

The bottom line: Trump shared the personal story of his brother’s alcohol abuse and offered a solution to the opioid crisis: “Really tough, really big, really great advertising so we get to people before they start.”

* Trump comes up with that kind of stuff because he’s so “intelligent.”

* Nunes jumped the shark today on the issue of Russia’s attempt to influence the election. His take: the Democrats did it.

* Finally, I’m sure that none of you really care, but here’s what is coming our way tonight up here in the tundra. And yes, it’s happening earlier than usual.

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