Dec 10, 2017

Scoop: Trump's closing argument on taxes

Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

On Wednesday, President Trump will deliver his closing argument on tax reform to an audience made up largely of young people and middle-class families whose personal stories will be laced into his remarks.

Trump's remarks at the Treasury Department, next door to the White House, are expected to lay out how the once-in-a-generation tax cut/reform bill will create economic opportunity and brighter futures.

  • Aides say Trump will display his dealmaking/closing skills as he makes his case to the American people, while continuing to work behind the scenes to iron out final details.
  • A source close to the White House told me: "There's no way we would have been here had he not pushed for this to happen before Christmas."

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, it's Ego Week — or, more precisely, a week about overcoming egos:

  • A source familiar with Republican negotiations says: "You have the usual institutional tensions: The House always thinks the Senate is rolling them via parliamentary threats. Then you have the personalities: the egos of chairmen, and jostling between senators" — many of them feeling empowered.
  • Why it matters, per the source: "We know Rs are on the hot seat ... Things are taking longer than we have time for. ... But no room for failure here. We have no time."
  • Republican leadership is aiming to have the conference report, reconciling the House and Senate versions, complete by Friday.
  • Then both chambers need to pass it by simple majority, with the aim of getting it to Trump's desk by Wednesday, Dec. 20.
  • All this intersects with Shutdown Week, after Trump signed a bill Friday to keep the federal government running through Friday, Dec. 22, just ahead of Christmas Eve weekend.

Be smart: Republicans expect to pull this off. Since both chambers have voted for a version of the tax bill, there's no incentive to tank it now. But with this much urgency and this little time, lots of players have leverage — meaning more drama before this is baked.

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U.S.-led coalition in Iraq withdraws from 3rd base this month

A soldier stands guard at the Qayyarah airbase in southern Mosul on March 26. Photo: Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United States-led coalition in Iraq withdrew from K-1 Air Base in the northern part of the country on Sunday, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the third site that coalition forces have left this month as the U.S. gathers troops in Baghdad and at Ain al-Asad Air Base.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 679,977 — Total deaths: 31,734 — Total recoveries: 145,625.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 124,686 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per CDC, those residents should "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska issues a stay-at-home order — New York tries to nearly triple hospital capacity in less than a month and moved presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's initial handling of the virus balk at call for U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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The year of the protest meets the year of the lockdown

Hong Kong demonstrators protest a government ban on face masks in October. Photo by Laurel Chor/Getty Images

The year of the mass uprising has collided with the year of the coronavirus lockdown, leaving protest movements around the world stalled. 

The big picture: The enduring images of 2019 are of protest — from Hong Kong to Khartoum, across the Middle East and through much of Latin America. Seemingly overnight, though, social distancing has made such mass demonstrations almost unthinkable.

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