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December 1, 2017

On Thursday, the congressional tax scorekeepers at the Joint Committee on Taxation projected that the Senate Republican tax plan would add $1 trillion to the federal deficit, using "dynamic scoring" that accounts for economic growth. "This is the standard by which the GOP has insisted that fiscal legislation should be judged" for 40 years now, notes New York Times business reporter Binyamin Appelbaum‏. It wasn't the result deficit-wary Republicans wanted, and it led to an overnight rewrite of the tax plan — that plus a parliamentary disqualification of a proposed "trigger" to raise taxes if the $1.63 trillion in tax cuts don't pay for themselves.

Earlier Thursday, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) dismissed the "trigger" idea. "The bottom line is, we'll be able to fill any deficit hole with additional revenues, and we basically saw the same during the Reagan tax cuts, frankly the Kennedy tax cut, you can even go all the way back to the Coolidge tax cut," he told Bloomberg's Kevin Cirilli. "We will be able to raise more revenues, and if not, as a Republican, the answer would be less spending, not more taxes."

The national debt is "the greatest crisis that receives almost no attention in Washington," Hensarling added, elaborating on the spending cuts. "What we need to do is, obviously, reform current entitlement programs for future generations. That's a heavy political lift, but so far we haven't found any help from Democrats."

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had similarly suggested cutting future Medicare and Social Security benefits as the next step after passing tax cuts. Calvin Coolidge's tax cuts in 1926, it should be noted, "would substantially contribute to the causes of the Great Depression," the precursor to entitlements, Great Depression historian Robert McElvaine wrote in The Washington Post on Thursday. "Yet the plain fact that the trickle-down approach has never worked leaves Republicans unfazed." You can read more at the Post. Peter Weber

8:20a.m.

One day after telling reporters he found credible Saudi Arabia's "fist fight" explanation of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, President Trump expressed greater skepticism of the account.

"Nobody has told me [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is] responsible" for ordering Khashoggi's death, Trump told The Washington Post in a phone interview Saturday night. "Nobody has told me he's not responsible. We haven't reached that point ... I would love if he wasn't responsible."

The president dubbed the Saudi prince an "incredible ally," but conceded "obviously there's been deception, and there's been lies" about how Khashoggi died. The journalist went missing two weeks ago, and Riyadh previously denied all knowledge of his whereabouts. Saudi Arabia is known for its poor record on human rights, and the alliance has embroiled the United States in the gruesome Saudi intervention in Yemen.

Trump also reiterated his unwillingness to allow the killing to interfere with a lucrative arms deal with Saudi Arabia. "It's the largest order in history," he said. "To give that up would hurt us far more than it hurts them. Then all they'll do is go to Russia or go to China. All that's doing is hurting us."

See the Post's full report here. Bonnie Kristian

8:00a.m.

President Trump said Saturday evening he intends to withdraw the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Reagan-era arms control agreement with Russia (originally the Soviet Union) that eliminated thousands of short- and intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

"Russia has violated the agreement. They've been violating it for many years," Trump said. "And I don't know why President Obama didn't negotiate or pull out. And we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to."

NATO has confirmed Russian missile tests in the past decade likely violate the deal. "Russia has not provided any credible answers on this new missile," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this month. "All allies agree that the most plausible assessment would be that Russia is in violation of the treaty. It is therefore urgent that Russia addresses these concerns in a substantial and transparent manner."

In early October, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison, United States' permanent representative to NATO, said "countermeasures would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty" if Moscow does not change course.

The INF Treaty was originally signed in 1987 between then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. It took effect in 1988. Bonnie Kristian

October 20, 2018

A massive caravan of mostly Honduran migrants stalled Friday and Saturday at Mexico's southern border while trying to make their way to the United States.

Mexican authorities have said those who meet entry requirements, like holding a visa, will be allowed through, but so far only a trickle — many women and children — have made it past the bridge checkpoint over the Suchiate River where hundreds waited overnight.

Police in riot gear have used tear gas and smoke to control the crowd. Those permitted to apply for refugee status can stay in a shelter, but conditions on the bridge are rapidly becoming unsanitary.

President Trump has threatened to close the southern border to keep the migrants out, but he agreed Thursday night to evaluate their asylum claims. At a rally in Arizona Friday evening, Trump alleged "many of those people [in the caravan] — a fairly big percentage of those people — are criminals."

The group includes young children and pregnant women seeking to escape dire economic circumstances and even violence in their home countries. "We have suffered so much," one migrant mother on the bridge told CBS News. "She has a fever and we brought nothing," she added, gesturing to her baby. Bonnie Kristian

October 20, 2018

This whole immigration mess could be solved in a matter of minutes, President Trump claimed on Twitter Saturday morning, if those pesky Democrats would just do what he wants:

In past negotiations about specific immigration reform proposals, Trump has proven mercurial, taking a variety of rapidly changing and inconsistent positions and drawing critique even from within his own party.

Several additional Saturday tweets saw Trump endorsing a pair of GOP candidates for the midterm elections. He praised Ron DeSantis, the would-be Republican successor to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and also backed Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in his gubernatorial race. Kemp is embroiled in controversy surrounding his "exact match" system of maintaining voter registrations. The president claimed both men's electoral opponents would "destroy" their respective states. Bonnie Kristian

October 20, 2018

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) announced Friday he and Lt. Gov. Valerie Davidson will not continue their re-election campaign.

"With more time, I am confident that Val and I could deliver a message and a campaign that could earn a victory in this election," he said. "But there are only 18 days remaining before election day. Absentee ballots have already been mailed, and Alaskans are already voting. In the time remaining, I believe we cannot win a three-way race."

Davidson took office Tuesday after former Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D) resigned over "inappropriate comments." Walker, a former Republican, endorsed Democrat Mark Begich against Republican Mike Dunleavy. Bonnie Kristian

October 20, 2018

A week after the remains of 11 babies were found in the ceiling of a shuttered Detroit funeral home, another 63 bodies of infants were discovered in a separate funeral home in the city.

So far, police say there is no apparent connection between the two facilities. The second funeral home has now been closed as well. "This is deeply disturbing," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. "I have never seen anything like this."

Investigators are working to determine the identities of the infants as well as why they were not handled appropriately. One theory suggests the remains should have received a proper burial after donation for educational use at a nearby medical school.

While the first set of remains were uncovered thanks to an anonymous tip to state authorities, the second set came to light though a lawsuit against the funeral home alleging improper burial of an infant girl. Bonnie Kristian

October 20, 2018

At least 60 people were killed and dozens more injured when a speeding train plowed into a crowd of people watching fireworks at a religious festival in northern India Friday night.

Eyewitnesses say the victims did not hear the train coming over the booms of the fireworks display, and the train reportedly did not blow its whistle before striking the crowd. Locals say festival attendees sit on the tracks to watch the show every year.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences on Twitter:

An inquiry into the accident is ongoing. The Railway Board rejected responsibility on the grounds that people "are not expected to be on the tracks." Bonnie Kristian

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