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Conservative House Republicans, after spending eight years threatening to shut down the government over deficits, are flirting with an idea sure to increase the national debt.
We hear a growing number of the most conservative lawmakers are seduced by the idea of cutting taxes for corporations and individuals — but without paying for it with a tax hike, like Speaker Ryan's trillion-dollar border adjustment plan.
Reince Priebus hit three Sunday shows with a very specific strategy designed to echo into the coming week: distance the White House from allegations of a Russian scandal, and hit specific stories as "fake news" to drive home the point.
On "Fox News Sunday," Priebus was more emphatic than even the president in saying there had been no collusion during the campaign between anybody involved with Trump and anybody involved with Russia. Priebus told Chris Wallace that he had been authorized by higher-ups to say this publicly, suggesting the all-clear came from top intelligence officials.
Trump insists the first executive order rollout went marvelously. Most others — with some notable exceptions like senior policy adviser Stephen Miller — think it was a flop.
Either way, it's clear White House officials are trying to get it right this week, rolling out a new executive order with more prep and agency-level input.
They're doing three things they should have done the first time around:
But, but, but ... We hear paranoid White House officials continue to keep the specifics secret, fearful of last-minute pushback.
Republican members are in for one hell of a recess week. Progressive groups are circulating information about town hall meetings on a MoveOn.org-powered website, "Resistance Recess."
More than a dozen major groups in the institutional left are involved, with groups like Planned Parenthood and unions like SEIU organizing protests. The former Hillary Clinton super PAC Priorities USA is running localized digital ads — its first paid ads since the election — to spotlight Republican town halls. Democratic leaders like Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer will lead events.
What's in store:
Resisting the resistance: House Republicans have been intensely prepping for these confrontations. At least 175 members attended Obamacare "listening sessions" — which were really detailed policy briefing sessions — convened by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Sen. Chuck Schumer is a cover boy ... on this month's issue of American Rifleman, the NRA's member magazine. The group says the Senate Democratic leader is among the "Smear Merchants."
Not the most flattering photo, either. But that's what you get when you take over from Harry Reid.