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October 21, 2017

After the Senate on Thursday approved the GOP budget plan 51-49, House Republicans are considering whether to pass the Senate version as-is to accelerate their tax reform agenda. "There's a very clear possibility that the House clears this next week," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said of the Senate legislation Friday.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus on Friday agreed to back the Senate bill if House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will first pledge to schedule a floor vote on taxes by the second week in November. Ryan has said he intends to complete tax reform by "early November," but many on the Hill consider that schedule deeply unrealistic.

President Trump addressed the situation on Twitter Friday and Saturday, decrying Democratic opposition, complaining of inadequate media coverage, and promising historic tax cuts soon. "Budget that just passed is a really big deal, especially in terms of what will be the biggest tax cut in U.S. history," he wrote Saturday morning. "MSM barely covered!" Bonnie Kristian

12:59 p.m.

We knew this day would come. But why did it have to happen so soon?

A Pew Research Center survey published Monday found that adults in the U.S. received more news from social media than newspapers in 2018. This is the first time news consumption via social media surpassed print newspapers since Pew started asking these questions.

While this is sad news for fans of print, social media and newspapers are still the least common means of discovering the news. Television continues to be the most popular medium for news consumption, with 49 percent of adults looking to their headlines, followed by websites with 33 percent, and radio with 26 percent.

As to be expected, this change is heavily spearheaded by youngsters. Those between 18 and 29 years old are about four times as likely to receive their news from social media than people 65 years and older. Who knows what trend they'll influence next.

The survey was conducted by speaking to 4,581 respondents on a panel between July 30-Aug. 12. The margin of error is 2.5 percentage points. Read more at Pew Research Center. Amari Pollard

12:01 p.m.

After repeatedly claiming that there would not be enough time to bring the First Step Act — the bipartisan prison reform bill endorsed by President Trump — to a vote this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that his chamber would begin debating the measure as early as this week, reports The Hill.

"At the request of the president and following improvements to the legislation that has been secured by several members," McConnell said on the Senate floor, "the Senate will take up the recently revised criminal justice bill."

The legislation is designed to, among other reforms, make more prisoners eligible for early release and give judges greater latitude in the face of mandatory-minimum sentencing. Despite the president's backing — including a Friday tweet encouraging McConnell to "Go for it" — opponents, such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), have said that "most" senators "don't want to touch the bill with a 10-foot pole." Thanks to McConnell, that assertion will now be put to the test. Jacob Lambert

11:52 a.m.

NBC's Today is losing yet another host.

After more than a decade on the air, Kathie Lee Gifford is leaving the NBC morning show in April 2019. Gifford announced her departure in a tearful segment on Tuesday morning, saying she never intended to stay on the show for more than a year but did so because she loves everyone she works with so much. But she said this is "an exciting time for me" and that she's "thrilled about all the projects that are coming up."

In an internal NBC News memo, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim thanked Gifford for her "eleven extraordinary years," report CNN. Oppenheim also said that Gifford, who "has been overflowing lately with film, music and book projects," has decided to turn her attention fully to these other endeavors and step away from her hosting duties.

After working for years alongside Regis Philbin, Gifford joined Hoda Kotb as co-host of Today's 10 a.m. hour in 2008. During a segment Tuesday, Gifford said she has no doubt she and Kotb will still be close friends just as she and Philbin remain.

This is another major change to NBC's morning show after Megyn Kelly, who hosted the hour before Gifford and Kotb, was fired over controversial remarks about blackface. She is still negotiating her exit from the network but is reportedly going to receive $30 million on her way out. Brendan Morrow

Brendan Morrow

11:46 a.m.

As he gears up for the 2020 election, President Trump is ready for a challenge from one of his own.

Trump's re-election team has discussed the possibility that he will face a Republican primary challenger in 2020, The Associated Press reports. In particular, the two potential candidates they're keeping an eye on are Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

Both Kasich and Flake are leaving office soon and have discussed potential 2020 bids, with Kasich saying last month that he is looking at it "very seriously" because "we need different leadership," ABC News reports. Flake, meanwhile, has said that he hopes someone runs against Trump in the Republican presidential primaries, although he said in November that he doesn't necessarily see himself running, per CNBC. Both Kasich and Flake have made recent visits to New Hampshire, however, often a signal of forthcoming candidacy.

Trump's campaign plans to seek loyalty pledges from the GOP hoping to avoid a Republican challenge, per AP, and Politico reports that Trump's allies are trying to get the New Hampshire GOP to break from its usual tradition of remaining neutral in the state's primary. This would be so the Republican Party in the state can officially endorse Trump, and the president's team is also looking to get someone loyal to them as the state party's head. Interestingly, Kasich's team criticized this move, with strategist John Weaver saying it wouldn't impact the governor's decision on whether to run. Kasich came in second place to Trump in the 2016 New Hampshire Republican primary and CNN reports he refused to vote for him in the presidential election, writing in John McCain's name instead. Brendan Morrow

11:27 a.m.

Americans are mostly happy with how President Trump is handling border security, but they still want him to hit pause on building a border wall.

As a government shutdown looms closer, 57 percent of Americans say Trump should "compromise on the border wall to prevent gridlock," an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll released Tuesday found. Just 36 percent say Trump shouldn't compromise — it's likely Trump will listen to the minority.

Trump has said he'd only pass this year's spending bill if he gets $5 billion in border wall funding, but Democrats will so far only agree to $1.6 billion. Without a compromise or concession, the dispute would trigger a government shutdown starting Dec. 21.

Americans overwhelmingly want Trump to compromise to avoid the shutdown, with 71 percent of Democrats saying Trump should relent, per the poll. Still, 65 percent of Republicans think Trump should stand firm "even if it means a government shutdown," the poll shows. Trump has generally focused on catering to Republicans, suggesting he'll keep fighting for his $5 billion, NPR says.

The poll also shows 53 percent of Americans approve of Trump's "protection of the U.S. borders." Approval drops as Americans dig deeper into Trump's immigration policies, with only 36 percent approving of how Trump is handling "undocumented immigrants already in this country" and reuniting families separated at the border, the poll says.

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist surveyed 1,075 adults via landline and cell phones from Nov. 28-Dec. 4 with a 3.7 percent margin of error. See more results at NPR. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:39 a.m.

The number of women in Congress is about to spike — but that's no thanks to Republicans.

Next year, the GOP will have just 13 women lawmakers in Congress, down from 23 last cycle. Republican congresswomen know that's a problem, but men leading the party are doing nothing about it, they tell Politico.

Last month's midterms were brutal for the GOP-held house, likely because suburban moms largely flipped to vote for Democrats, Politico says. Many Republican congresswomen, namely Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and Rep. Diane Black (Tenn.), think the GOP can reel those suburbanites back in and regain a congressional majority. But they need to start catering to women first, they said.

In 2012, Black realized the National Republican Congressional Committee wasn't pushing hard to elect women. So she and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) started fundraising to push Stefanik, Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), and several other woman past primaries to win congressional seats. Only Stefanik won re-election this year, leaving Black feel "so disappoint[ed] I could just scream," she tells Politico.

The losses prompted Wagner to run for NRCC chair "in the hopes of leading a recovery," Politico writes. But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly told her not to run, putting yet another man at the helm of the GOP's campaign efforts. Rep. Tom Emmer's (R-Minn.) comment that it was "a mistake" to push for female candidates didn't help matters. It's all led Stefanik to leave the NRCC, saying last week she'll start her own operation to get women elected — just like what Black and Wagner did six years ago, but a step further. Read more at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:24 a.m.

Americans are increasingly unhappy, a new CNN poll published Tuesday finds, with how President Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are handling the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Approval for both has fallen since CNN asked the same questions in October:


(CNN)

Intriguingly, while each man's ratings vary along predictably partisan lines, Trump's performance in regards to the probe is a low point even for Republicans. GOP respondents ranked Trump well — often 80 percent support or higher — for his performance on other specific issues and for his presidency in general. But on the Russia probe, a bare majority of 51 percent approve of Trump, a record low.

See the full poll results here. The margin of error is +/- 3.8 percent. Bonnie Kristian

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