Sunday, December 17, 2017
Politics

House Republicans lead passage of $650 billion tax-break package

WASHINGTON — By approving a massive package of tax breaks Tuesday, House Republicans — who have made deficit-slashing the holy grail of their majority — just piled on nearly $650 billion in red ink.

The 318-109 vote, part of a sweeping budget deal expected to clear Congress by week's end, was supported by business and anti-poverty advocates as a down payment on a broader tax overhaul and a way to make permanent the dozens of specialty tax breaks that were once renewed year-to-year.

But passage served as a reminder of the dominance in the GOP of so-called supply-siders over deficit hawks. Supply-siders, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., believe tax cuts will more than pay for themselves by stimulating economic growth. Only a handful of Republicans joined most Democrats in opposing the measure.

"This is a good bill, this is an amazing bill," said Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, during the floor debate. "Go talk to your small businesses. … This is going to provide amazing certainty."

But noting that the measure's overall price tag soars to $800 billion after including interest payments, Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland countered: "The certainty of this bill is that we will explode deficits."

The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to be combined with a massive year-end spending measure to avert a federal shutdown and keep the government funded through Sept. 30. Final votes are today, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign the combined package into law.

Together, the package represents one of the biggest domestic policy initiatives in years, and exposes the trade-offs that are commonly made in Congress to reach consensus.

But budget hawks in both parties criticized what they called a double standard in the GOP's usual policy of requiring any new spending to be paid for. Instead ,the party approved the tax breaks without offsetting the reductions elsewhere in the budget.

Comments
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia inquiry that has shadowed the White House for much of his ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Published: 12/16/17
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Published: 12/16/17
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Published: 12/16/17
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Published: 12/15/17