Morning Must Reads for Friday, December 9, 2016

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 344th day of the year. There are 22 days remaining in 2016.

The federal government could shut down due to a fight over health benefits for retired coal miners. Donald Trump taps a critic of hiking the minimum wage as labor secretary. Mia Love lays the groundwork for a possible leadership role in Congress.

The clock:

  • Ten days until the Electoral College meets to cast their votes for president and vice president (12/19/2016)
  • 42 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President (1/20/2017)
  • 45 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (1/23/2017)
  • 90 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 333 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 697 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)

Ten talking points for Friday:

  1. What happened this week in Utah politics? We’ve got you covered with our video week-in-review [Utah Policy].
  2. The opponents of a proposed tax hike for public schools are painting themselves into a corner politically [Utah Policy].
  3. The federal government is on the verge of a shutdown because a stopgap spending measure is in trouble after Senate Democrats want to extend health benefits for retired coal miners. The measure must be passed by midnight on Friday to avoid the shutdown [New York Times].
  4. Mitt Romney was spotted near Trump Tower during his visit to New York on Thursday. A witness says Romney was hustling away from the building “like he didn’t want to be seen.” Romney is still reportedly in the running to be Donald Trump‘s secretary of state [New York Post].
  5. Donald Trump taps Andrew Puzder, CEO of the Carl’s Jr. fast-food franchise, to be secretary of labor. Puzder is an outspoken critic of calls to raise the minimum wage [Wall Street Journal].
  6. Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is rumored to be at the top of Donald Trump‘s list for interior secretary. McMorris Rodgers is currently the chair of the House GOP Conference. If she gets the job, Utah Rep. Mia Love is among those who may make a bid for the #4 position in House leadership [Politico].
  7. Republican members of Congress are set to launch an intensive probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential cyber threats to the U.S. military [Washington Post]. Donald Trump is reportedly only getting only one intelligence briefing per week [Huffington Post].
  8. Conflict of interest anyone? President-Elect Donald Trump will remain as an executive producer for the latest season of the television show “The Apprentice.” The title is not ceremonial, either as Trump will pull a reported five-figure salary from the show [NBC News].
  9. chairman of the board and former gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Johnson smells a rat in the deal struck between Utah and to collect sales tax for online purchases [Tribune]. Amazon will get to keep 18% of the sales tax they collect from Utah residents under terms of the agreement [Deseret News].
  10. Gov. Gary Herbert says Utah education leaders need to get on the same page to come up with a long-term plan for improving education in the state [Deseret News].

On this day in history:

  • 1958 – Retired Boston candy manufacturer Robert H. W. Welch, Jr., established the John Birch Society, a right-wing organization dedicated to fighting what it perceived to be the extensive infiltration of communism into U.S. society.
  • 1974 – White House aide John Ehrlichman testified at the Watergate trial that U.S. President Richard Nixon was responsible for a cover up.
  • 1990 – Solidarity founder Lech Walesa was elected president of Poland.
  • 2000 – The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt in the Florida presidential vote count.