Dec 1, 2017

Senate tax bill appears set to pass

Sen. Bob Corker's debt concerns won't be addressed in the tax bill. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The Senate tax bill is steamrolling towards passage this afternoon, with members' concerns being addressed — except for the deficit hawks, who aren't getting extra debt-reducing provisions added to the bill. With Sen. Jeff Flake now saying he'll vote yes, the only debt hawk who may still vote no is Sen. Bob Corker.

What we're watching: Any last-minute Senate drama, along with the actual bill's release. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters the GOP has the votes.

Aides say the bill will still add about $1.5 trillion to the federal debt over the next decade without accounting for economic growth, which strongly suggests it's been calculated that the bill can pass without Corker's vote. Sen. James Lankford, who was also concerned about the debt addition but will vote for the bill, told Vox the bill won't address their concerns.

Other changes:

  • Sen. Ron Johnson and Steve Daines will support the bill after the pass-through deduction was increased from 17.4 percent of business income to 23 percent, which will be paid for by an increase in the repatriation rate for international businesses, per NPR's Kelsey Snell.
  • Sen. Susan Collins' demand that a $10,000 deduction for property taxes be included in the bill has been met, Bloomberg reports.

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Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

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World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

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