The Note: Trump’s tax plan not on the money with middle class

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THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein

It all seemed so easy, so … normal. GOP leaders released their consensus framework, the president delivered a coordinated address, and the Freedom Caucus and conservative outside groups spoke with one voice. Tax reform means so much to the Republican Party at this moment – the only legislative item with any real shot at passing in 2017 – that it’s easy to lose focus on how long a shot that really is. The lack of numbers in the outline wasn’t strategy – it was the reality of proposing something that wouldn’t balloon the deficit, fork over billions to the wealthy, and get away with erasing spreadsheets full of popular tax breaks. Selling it as a populist victory – a “middle-class miracle,” as President Trump described it? Careful going here: Only 45 percent of Americans want a tax cut for businesses, with 48 percent opposed, according to the new ABC News/Washington Post poll. Sixty-two percent oppose a tax cut for higher-income people. The president is expected to be more involved than he was in health care. Clearly he wants a tax cut, but his conflicting priorities – and, of course, the erratic and unpredictable ways he expresses them – leave him as the biggest wild card in the equation, yet again. This bill has to survive the swamp, and it also has to survive the president.

CALIFORNIA LOOMING LARGE

Frustrated that the largest state in the union, and arguably the most diverse, was an afterthought in the race to select presidential nominees last go-around, California chose to move up its primary to early March in 2020. On the Democratic side, California voters will likely favor a proven progressive, a recognized resister. There is buzz already about whether locals considering a run, like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Sen. Kamala Harris, could benefit. Could the change reduce the inflated role of early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire? Maybe, but that’s unlikely. A candidate could arguably try skipping those very white, very particular states to focus on competing out west. But from the Redwood Forest to the border with Mexico, from the Golden Gate to Hollywood, face-to-face, hand-shaking, retail politics can be next to impossible in California. It could mean Iowa and New Hampshire wind up counting more than ever. A candidate who enters the race strong, gains some momentum and airtime, could wrap it up fast with a delegate haul from California. The move could end up leaving little time for an underdog or alternative voice to build steam. It could favor the favorite, ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks writes.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Taking heat on Puerto Rico and pressure to lift Jones Act, President Trump meets with Acting Department of Homeland Security Director Elaine Duke today.
  • Details and dollar figures to follow, but the GOP tax outline is here: Slash the corporate tax rate 20 percent, lower the top individual tax rate, nix the estate tax, expand the standard deduction and child tax credits.
  • Trump’s not happy with Tom Price, but what about Scott Pruitt? The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed Pruitt took chartered and military flights that cost taxpayers more than $58,000.
  • Boris Epshteyn, a former top Trump aide, gets his turn today before the House Intelligence Committee in its Russia probe.
  • A new ABC News/Washington Post poll: In the wake of several recent hurricanes, 55 percent mainly blame climate change, vs. 41 percent who say happenstance is the reason for the severity of the storms.
  • No repeal, but: Trump says he may sign an executive order that he says would allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    “I think they’re afraid of their players, you want to know the truth.”– President Trump to Fox News on NFL owners

    WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

    Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch headlines the Fund for American Studies (TFAS) “Defending Freedom” Luncheon at the Trump Hotel at 12 p.m.

    NEED TO READ with ABC News’ Paola Chavez

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    Trump administration planning to cap refugees at 45,000 for FY18. The Trump administration has confirmed that the U.S. plans to set a limit of 45,000 refugees for the next fiscal year -– a drop from Trump’s 50,000 cap last year and the 110,000 that Obama pledged the U.S. would take in during his final months in office. This is the lowest cap since the refugee admissions program began in 1975, although in some past years actual admissions were lower, sparking outrage from refugee resettlement groups and top Democrats. http://abcn.ws/2wXpKRW

    Russian internet trolls pushing #TakeAKnee, #BoycottNFL to sow discord in US: Senator. Russian internet trolls are trying to stoke the controversy in the U.S. over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem by using opposing hashtags such as #TakeAKnee and #BoycottNFL, a Senate Homeland Security Committee member said Wednesday. http://abcn.ws/2wXiTZ4

    Trump says Republicans ‘have the votes’ to repeal Obamacare. In two separate appearances Wednesday, President Trump claimed Republicans have the votes to repeal and replace Obamacare – despite a vote on the bill being derailed this week after enough senators publicly voiced their opposition. The president first made this claim while speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House ahead of his trip to Indianapolis to sell his tax plan. http://abcn.ws/2fAwKlr

    Alleged leaker Reality Winner said she stuffed NSA report in her pantyhose. Politico

    Twitter, with accounts linked to Russia, to face Congress over role in election. The New York Times

    Sourse: abcnews.go.com

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