Trump's relationship with top Dems 'deteriorating' amid shutdown standoff

Jan 22, 2018 0

The relationship between President Trump and top Democrats may be “deteriorating” as the two parties inched closer but ultimately fell short on an agreement that would have re-opened the federal government before Monday.

The revelation comes as the federal government shutdown stretches into its third day. There is an expected procedural vote in the Senate on Monday at noon on a bill that would fund the government until Feb. 8. But it is unclear if there’s enough support, and it would not re-open the government yet. 

Trump kicked off Monday morning by accusing Democrats of playing to the “far left base.”

“Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!” he tweeted.  

Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, told Fox News Sunday that the relationship between Trump, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is “probably deteriorating” since the shutdown began on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

During the Friday meeting with Trump, Schumer reportedly agreed to only one-year appropriation for the border wall. The White House dismissed such an offer, instead demanding a multi-year package for the administration’s signature issue.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Schumer said on Sunday that negotiations were under way and the exact details of a proposal taking shape are unclear.  

“We have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward,” Schumer said late Sunday, hoping for a firmer commitment from the Republicans to protect roughly 700,000 younger immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

The GOP is becoming increasingly confident that Democrats will ultimately blink and vote to end the shutdown amid mounting criticism and blame for the standoff. The White House and Republican leadership insisted they will not enter negotiations on immigration until the government is funded.

Some Democrats reportedly expressed worries of the political costs due to the showdown in the wake of the midterm elections this year.

Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham – who opposed the bill on Friday – are thought to be supportive of the vote, Short said. Five Democrats from states won by Trump also broke ranks in a vote on Friday.

The vote on an actual bill re-opening the government would come late Monday or as late as Tuesday evening, depending on the success of the early Monday vote.

Trump urged the Senate on Sunday to deploy the so-called “nuclear option” – changing Senate rules to end the filibuster that requires the bills to reach a 60-vote threshold rather than a simple majority.

McConnell dismissed the suggestion, noting that the rule will be welcomed once the Republicans become the minority in the Senate.

As the government shutdown stretches into the workweek, some effects of the political standoff could be felt by the general population.

But White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that the Americans will not see a “dramatic difference” because, unlike the Obama administration in 2013, the current administration is not trying to “weaponize” the situation.

“The effects won’t actually be as visible as they were as in 2013,” Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday.” “Keep in mind that in 2013, the only way I can describe it, was the Obama administration chose to weaponize the shutdown. They wanted it to be showy. They went out of their way to hurt more people and to be more visible.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

California Democrats want some businesses to fork over half tax-cut savings to state

Jan 22, 2018 0

Calling the Trump administration’s tax reform plan a “middle-class tax increase,” two California lawmakers introduced a bill that would force large companies to fork over half of their expected savings to the state.

Assemblymen Kevin McCarty and Phil Ting, both Democrats, introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 22, which calls for a 10 percent surcharge on companies with a net earnings over $1 million. The plan could potentially raise billions for the state’s social services programs.

“It is unconscionable to force working families to pay the price for tax breaks and loopholes benefiting corporations and wealthy individuals,” Ting said in a statement, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. “This bill will help blunt the impact of the federal tax plan on everyday Californians by protecting funding for education, affordable health care and other core priorities.”

The paper reported that the two lawmakers face an up-hill battle because Democrats in the state have lost their supermajority in the Legislature.

The Trump administration’s tax bill cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The administration contends that the lessened tax burden will stimulate the economy and help the U.S. stay competitive on a global scale.

About 2 million workers have received a bonus after the bill’s passage.

Congressional Democrats said the bill was rushed through and benefits the top 1 percent of earners.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has diminished the corporate bonuses as mere “crumbs.”

An editorial last week in The Sacramento Bee called the McCarty-Ting proposal “dumb.”

“California’s tax system should be updated to match a 21st century economy,” the editorial read.  “The high sales tax rate, which hits low-income people hardest, ought to be lowered, and certain services used by wealthier people and corporations ought to be subject to taxes. Proposition 13, the property tax cutting measure approved by voters 40 years ago, could be revisited.”

The editorial pointed out that the state will maintain a $13.5 billion reserve this year, but, “Bills that blindly seek to soak big business and the rich at a time of budget surplus solve nothing.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.