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Utah's Daily Policy Resource, Brought to you by Utah Policy
Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City.
Utahns are solidly behind a plan to legalize medical marijuana. Congressional Republicans near the finish line with their tax plan. Congress races to fund the government before it runs out of money on Friday.
73% of Utahns say they are in favor of a proposed ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana. That number includes 61% of "very active" Mormons [Utah Policy].
Fiscal responsibility in government pays off. The financial blog 24/7 Wall Street says Utah is the #2 "best managed" state, behind Minnesota. Low unemployment and paying financial obligations factored into their rankings [Utah Policy].
The House passed the tax package on Tuesday but will have to take another crack at it on Wednesday. The Senate Parliamentarian rejected three provisions in the bill that violated the rules. The Senate removed them, so the House will have to vote again before sending the bill to President Trump's desk. All of Utah's members of Congress voted in favor of the package [New York Times].
Here's how Republicans were able to come together in just two months to pass the most sweeping changes to the tax code in decades [New York Times].
The tax plan is a political gamble for Republicans. They passed big tax cuts without offsetting those with spending cuts, hoping that the plan will lead to big growth in the economy [Associated Press].
How is it playing at home? A poll shows just 24% of Americans think the tax plan is a good idea [NBC News]. Another survey shows just 27% of Americans think the GOP made a good faith effort to include Democrats in the process [CNN].
Many of the provisions in the tax plan go into effect at the beginning of 2018, which has companies scrambling to figure out how to figure out the new withholding rules for employees [Politico].
Republicans wanted to pass a bill to fund the Pentagon for the rest of the fiscal year, but now they will focus on a stopgap measure to fund the government through January 19th. The plan is to pick up the issue after lawmakers return to Washington after the holiday break [Politico].
One of the issues holding up efforts to pass a bill before the government runs out of money on Friday is stopgap funding for Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised Maine Sen. Susan Collins that funding would be in a must-pass year-end spending bill if she supported the tax overhaul. But, House Republicans aren't too keen on propping up Obamacare [Politico].
Utah Sen. Mike Lee is threatening to vote against a funding package if it includes a long-term extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) [Tribune].
Democrats forged a tie in the Virginia House of Delegates following this year's election, and it all came down to one vote margin in a recount. Democrat Shelly Simonds beat Republican incumbent David Yancey by a single vote, which means the two parties will have an even 50-50 split in next year's legislative session [Politico].
President Donald Trump and GOP Senators are working on a major immigration bill that could come together in January. White House officials say they're planning on introducing a number of border security measures along with protections for Dreamers [Politico].
Three of President Trump's picks for the federal bench have had their nominations pulled or withdrawn in the last week, which is highlighting a poor vetting process for those nominees. Senators are threatening to put more scrutiny on the selections in the future [Washington Post].
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Salt Lake Tribune
"Laughter is the closest distance between two people." Victor Borge
"After chief of staff John Kelly fired Omarosa, she apparently tried to barge into Trump's private residence. Secret Service agents stopped her, while another said, "Eh, I want to see how this plays out. Get your phone. Get your phone out." Jimmy Fallon