Good Tuesday morning. TAX REFORM is expected to be on the floor in both chambers today, and in all likelihood, it’s going to pass, and PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP will be able to sign it before Christmas. Republicans will get their holiday season signing ceremony, where they’ll be able to tout what they consider to be their present to the American people — a tax cut.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: One lawmaker has been talking about tax reform for some time: SPEAKER PAUL RYAN. The Wisconsin Republican’s office has cut a video — “A Moment Decades in the Making” — that splices together a bunch of clips of Ryan talking about reforming the system. One fun moment: a clip of a 28-year-old Ryan on C-SPAN as a congressman elect in 1998, saying, “Our tax system is punishing all those qualities that make America great.” How Trumpy. The 1:15 video http://bit.ly/2CZqQBb
NEWS — INSIDE REPUBLICANS’ GOVERNMENT FUNDING STRATEGY: The GOP — which controls the House and Senate — has an extremely intense four days ahead. They have to fund government and patch the children’s health program by Friday. But in addition, as our colleague Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) pointed out on Twitter yesterday, they have a ton of other stuff to do: renew a key part of surveillance law, pass a disaster supplemental spending bill, a veteran’s bill and waive pay-as-you-go rules for Medicare changes.
— HERE IS WHAT THE PROCESS WILL LOOK LIKE, AS OF NOW: THE HOUSE will pass SEVERAL BILLS: One with the relatively popular stuff (keeping government open and children’s health insurance) and another one, which will include a six-month patch of a key surveillance law. It’s not yet clear how they’ll handle the disaster supplemental, which provides $81 billion in relief for the storms that slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico earlier this year.
— THE BIG QUESTION: What will Mitch McConnell do? Several Republicans we spoke to say he’ll be inclined to combine these bills into one, plus add language to to bolster Obamacare payments — as he promised Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). They are still sorting through what that will look like. In part, the Senate faces a time crunch: it would be nearly impossible for McConnell to have time to bring up two bills by the Friday deadline. That would make for one big massive bill that Ryan will be pressured to put on the floor and pass to keep government open. That package will likely include language to bolster Obamacare. CONSERVATIVES WILL FREAK OUT at the massive, pricey package. And they’ll also moan about being rolled by the Senate — once again.
THIS ENTIRE DECEMBER JAM was designed to allow for a spending-cap deal, which now is out of the question. BEGS THE QUESTION: Why doesn’t Congress punt all this stuff to January and let everyone go home?
THE BUZZ IN THE CAPITOL: Keep reading here…