Situational awareness – December 21, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City.

Republicans are jubilant following the passage of their tax reform package. Democrat Jenny Wilson says the GOP tax plan will hurt the middle class and the poor. Has President Trump convinced Orrin Hatch to run for another term?

Tick tock:

  • 12 days until candidates can declare their intent to gather signatures for the 2018 election (1/2/2018)
  • 32 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 77 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 78 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 84 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 89 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 121 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 128 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 187 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 320 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,048 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Utah headlines

Week in review

Orrin Hatch, Donald Trump, tax reform, Mitt Romney, warfare within the Utah GOP, and Tanner Ainge all show up in our review of the week that was in Utah politics. Watch here, or download the podcast.

Hatch and Trump gush over each other following passage of tax overhaul

President Donald Trump and Sen. Orrin Hatch could not contain their glee and affection for each other following passage of the GOP tax overhaul plan. Hatch said Trump was “one heckuva leader” and Republicans were aiming to make Trump’s time in office the “greatest presidency we’ve seen in generations” [Deseret News, Tribune].

Wilson slams Hatch over tax bill that favors the wealthy

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jenny Wilson says the GOP tax overhaul package is “heartless” because it gives massive tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and the poor. She also said the process for passing the bill without a single public hearing and no Democratic input was not right [Utah Policy].

Here’s a podcast of our full interview with Wilson about tax reform [Utah Policy].

Hatch moves closer to running for another term in 2018

A report in The Atlantic says Republicans close to Sen. Orrin Hatch think President Donald Trump may have succeeded in convincing Hatch to run for an eighth term next year, mostly to keep Mitt Romney from entering the race. Some worry that could spark a backlash among Republicans in Utah. Others speculate that if Hatch wins, he’ll only serve two years then retire [Utah Policy].

  • Gov. Gary Herbert joined 11 other governors calling on Congress to pass legislation to allow “Dreamers” to stay in the United States [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Rob Bishop says opponents of President Trump’s reductions of two national monuments in Utah are pushing a “false narrative” that those areas will be open for energy exploration [Utah Policy].
  • Rep. John Curtis appoints Katie Thompson as press secretary in his Washington, D.C. office [Deseret News].
  • Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski says she intends to seek re-election in 2019 [Fox 13].
  • Check out who our “Political Insiders” say should be on the “naughty” and “nice” list for Utah politics next year [Utah Policy].
  • Utah has the third-fastest growth rate according to new census numbers, mostly because of the state’s high birth rate [Tribune].
  • The Utah Legislature hires Debbie Cragun as their new Human Resources Administrator [Utah Policy].

National headlines

  • Republicans push their tax reform package over the finish line. It’s the biggest change in the tax code in more than three decades [Washington Post].
  • President Trump may not be able to sign the tax overhaul bill until January so that automatic spending cuts to Medicare and other programs don’t take effect until then [Bloomberg].
  • Democrats see the unpopularity of the tax plan as a potent political issue they can use against Republicans in next year’s midterm elections [Reuters].
  • The tax plan will go into effect shortly after the first of the year, but nobody really knows what sort of effect it will have on the economy until they see what it actually does [Washington Post].
  • The government runs out of money on Friday. House Republicans will vote on a short-term funding measure on Thursday [Politico].
  • Woah! Some House Republicans are quietly using classified information to build the case that the FBI and Justice Department may have criminally mishandled the contents of a dossier alleging ties between President Trump and Russia [Politico].
  • Up next for Republicans in Congress? Overhauling Welfare and other social safety net programs [Bloomberg].
  • Several states are sounding the alarm that they are about to run out of money for a children’s health insurance program. Congress has yet to reauthorize the CHIP program [Politico].
  • President Donald Trump threatened to cut off aid to any country that voted in favor of a U.N. resolution condemning his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel [New York Times].
  • The Justice Department is asking the FBI to explain evidence about the controversial Uranium One deal as part of an effort to decide whether a special prosecutor is warranted in the case [NBC News].
  • Hillary Clinton may campaign for some Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections [The Hill].
  • Sen. Al Franken will resign from Congress on January 2 [NBC News].
  • Life expectancy in the U.S. drops for the second straight year, mostly because of a rising death toll from drug overdoses [Washington Post].

On this day in history

  • 1620 – William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts.
  • 1826 – American settlers in Nacogdoches, Texas declare their independence, starting the Fredonian Rebellion.
  • 1864 – Union Gen. William T. Sherman completed his Civil War “march to the sea” across the South and arrived in Savannah, Ga.
  • 1937 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the world’s first full-length animated feature premiers.
  • 1988 – A bomb explodes on board Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people.