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The search for the Republican tax deal

Sen. Jeff Flake is still a wildcard on the Senate tax bill. Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP

Senate Republicans are working to find hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue for their tax bill, in an attempt to bring deficit hawks like Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake onboard. After delaying votes on the bill last night, they'll resume voting Friday morning.

Be smart: Aides say they still hope to bring all 52 Republicans to yes. But it's going to be extremely hard to find ways to raise as much as $500 billion in revenue overnight, and raising taxes could lose other members.

Recap of Thursday night: The Senate parliamentarian said that Corker's "trigger" idea, which would have raised taxes if the deficit was growing in a few years, didn't comply with budget rules. But, one aide cautioned, some parts of the deal may work, meaning there's still serious thought being given to a rule-compliant trigger.

  • Corker then said he wants to write the tax increases into the bill instead, an idea other Republicans are surely going to be uncomfortable with. Other ideas for raising revenue were floating around as well, including an alternative minimum tax potentially on both corporations and individuals.
  • It's unclear how many other deficit hawks would vote against a bill that raises no more additional revenue than the current version, nor is it clear how many votes would be lost if the bill does raise additional revenue through higher taxes.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz has made it clear he hates the idea of raising taxes automatically through a trigger. "I think that is a very bad idea," he said on Fox News Thursday night.

Our thought bubble: There's an argument to be made that this bill isn't the last chance, and members will decide to vote for the bill in hopes of making it better in conference — or just in hopes that a future Congress acts to keep any tax increases from happening. Then again, Corker and Flake may be too smart to fall for that.

What else we're watching: Final deals getting Sens. Susan Collins and Ron Johnson to vote for the bill. And the long-shot situation in which Sen. John McCain decides making changes overnight that are worth hundreds of billions of dollars isn't regular order.

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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.

Haley Britzky 4 hours ago
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Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power

Donald Trump.
Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."

Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.