Trump's touted $4,000 middle-class raise under the GOP tax plan is really $500 a year, highly speculative
President Trump flew to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday evening to promote the emerging Republican tax plan as a big tax cut for the middle class, telling the gathered "truckers for tax reform" that "you're going to make more money, you're going to do better than ever before." Specifically, he said that a proposal to encourage U.S. companies to bring their foreign profits home "would likely give the typical American household a $4,000 pay raise" or more, citing the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).
Trump was apparently referring to a "simple back-of-the-envelope calculation" from CEA chairman Kevin Hassett, who estimated in a speech last month that if U.S. firms didn't park their profits abroad, the jump in U.S. corporate profits would be passed on to workers, and over eight years, "the median U.S. household would get a $4,000 real income raise." If you make $50,000 a year, CNNMoney explains, Hassett's predicted 1 percent raise would be $500 a year, or $4,000 over eight years.
That's a big "if." Hassett "has a contrarian view from other economists and says that corporate tax cuts primarily help workers, not companies," The Washington Post notes. "I'd put myself down as a skeptic," Mark Mazur, a former tax policy chief at the U.S. Treasury and current head of the Tax Policy Center, tells CNNMoney, noting that corporate profits are already high and aren't broadly being shared with workers. Conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin questioned how much money U.S. firms would repatriate.
The Senate has a big vote on a budget next week that will determine if they can move forward with a partisan tax plan at all. Without details, it's hard to predict the effect of the GOP tax plan, but independent analyses suggest it would greatly benefit Trump and other very rich people and raise taxes on up to 30 percent of middle-income families. Peter Weber
With 100 percent of precincts in Alabama reporting and Democrat Doug Jones ahead by nearly 21,000 votes, Republican Roy Moore told his supporters to keep the faith, because "when the vote is this close, it's not over."
Moore, who during the special Senate race was accused by several women of groping them when he was in his early 30s and they were teenagers, said he had been "painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful light," and he did not concede the election. He told his supporters to go home and get some rest, and stay tuned for news about a recount.
In Alabama, there is an automatic recount when the vote is within half of a percent, but Jones is ahead by 1.5 percentage points. Moore might be counting on absentee ballots, but MSNBC's Steve Kornacki said those were among the first votes to be counted. It's unclear how many provisional and military ballots there are, but Kornacki estimated there are 1,000 to 1,500 outstanding. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN he doesn't think the vote margin will change substantially before the election is certified between Jan. 26 and Jan. 3. Catherine Garcia
In his victory speech Tuesday night, Democrat Doug Jones, the projected winner of the Alabama special Senate election, said his entire campaign was based on "dignity and respect."
"This campaign has been about the rule of law," he continued. "This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which ZIP code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life." Jones thanked the volunteers who "knocked on 300,000 doors" and made "1.2 million phone calls" on his behalf, and said he's ready to go to Washington to work on health care, particularly funding the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It was a night to "rejoice," he said, celebrating Alabama taking "the right road." Catherine Garcia
If you were expecting an angry tweet from President Trump after the candidate he supported in the Alabama Senate special election, Republican Roy Moore, lost to Doug Jones, the Democrat, nope. On Tuesday night, Trump tweeted out his cordial congratulations to Jones.
Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
Moore wasn't Trump's first choice in the race — he campaigned for Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) in the GOP primary. But he eventually went all-in for Moore, who he saw as a reliable Republican vote in the Senate. Peter Weber
Moments after several media outlets projected Democrat Doug Jones winning the Alabama special Senate election, the president and CEO of the Senate Leadership Fund super PAC released a short but scathing rebuke of the person he holds responsible for the stunning loss.
"This is a brutal reminder that candidate quality matters regardless of where you are running," Steven Law said. "Not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the president of the United States into his fiasco." The Republican candidate was Roy Moore, a former judge who was accused by several women of groping them when he was in his early 30s and they were teenagers. Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist, appeared at a Monday night rally for Moore, where he railed against Republicans who refused to support Moore, while Trump tweeted multiple times in favor of Moore and recorded robo-calls on his behalf. The Senate Leadership Fund is close with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), took a different approach in the statement he made Tuesday night. "Tonight's results are clear — the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate," he said. "I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican majority." Nice try, senator. Catherine Garcia
Democrat Doug Jones will be the next senator representing Alabama, The Associated Press, Fox News, and The New York Times project.
The former U.S. attorney defeated Republican Roy Moore in a contentious election that took a turn last month when several women came forward and accused Moore of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. Moore had the support of President Trump, who recorded robo-calls on his behalf, as well as former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon. Jones will be the first Democratic senator in Alabama in two decades. Catherine Garcia
The results are still coming in for Alabama's special Senate election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore, and with 86.7 percent of precincts reporting, they are tied with each having 49.2 percent of the vote.
Moore was far ahead in the polls until several women accused him in recent weeks of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s, and in the days leading up to the election, Moore and Jones were in a dead heat. Moore has the support of President Trump, who recorded robo-calls on his behalf. The race will decide who will fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Catherine Garcia
White House attorney Ty Cobb says that on Tuesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced he's finished the interviews he requested with about two dozen current and former White House witnesses as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election.
Attorneys have refused to say which White House officials have been interviewed, but it's been reported that White House communications director Hope Hicks, White House counsel Don McGahn, former chief of staff Reince Priebus, and former spokesman Sean Spicer have all spoken with investigators. Mueller could still ask for additional interviews with the staffers and others who have not yet been questioned.
Cobb had said he thought the interviews would be finished by Thanksgiving and Mueller would announce the investigation was complete by the end of the year, but one attorney representing a senior Trump administration official in the probe told Politico that's a "nonsensical" timeline. "You say what you need to say to keep the sun coming up in the morning, but if you woke Ty Cobb up in the middle of the night and ask him if he thinks this is really going to be over in three weeks I think his answer is, 'Are you f—ing kidding me? Of course it won't.'" Catherine Garcia