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As timely as ever.


Oh dear. Poor Donald Trump may have to delay signing the Huge Tax Cuts For Rich Fuckwads Act Of 2017 until January, instead of giving a great big Christmas Blowie to campaign donors like he'd intended, because if the bill were signed in 2017, the bill's deficit spending would trigger automatic spending cuts that would hurt Republicans seeking reelection next year -- like, more than this dog's breakfast of a tax cut bill already will. The Atlantic's Justin Berman explains:

Under a 2010 “pay-as-you-go” law requiring Congress to offset any new spending or lower taxes, the $1.5 trillion bill would trigger automatic cuts to Medicare and other programs — across-the-board reductions that Republicans don’t want to be responsible for letting take effect. By waiting until the calendar turns to 2018 to formally enact the tax bill, Trump would push the automatic spending cuts to 2019 and buy Congress another year to waive them.

You see, Republican deficit hawks insisted on requiring those automatic spending cuts if the deficit got too big -- to force Congress to always pass a balanced budget, you know. Such PAYGO rules, in one form or another, go back to 1990, because Republicans want to show they're serious about deficit spending. But since Republicans also want big tax cuts without facing the political consequences of actually slashing Medicare and programs people like, Congress has routinely passed waivers that allow deficits without those mandatory spending cuts. Unfortunately, Congress didn't get around to passing that waiver scheme this year because Republicans were too goddamn busy trying to kill healthcare for millions of Americans and giving a big tax cut to the wealthy.

So signing the tax cuts into law after January 1 will give Congress a year to stop those huge cuts from going into effect.

Mitch McConnell made a big show Wednesday of how important it is to protect America from the combined effects of Republicans' pretense of hating deficits and Republicans' deficit-exploding tax cuts:

Just as we have done in the past, we need to pass a routine ‘Pay-Go’ waiver to avoid a draconian sequester that none of my colleagues want to see take effect. [...] Americans are counting on us not to inflict harmful cuts on Medicare and other essential operations.

Yeah, how on earth would those huge cuts possibly be triggered, huh? Clearly Democrats' fault.

Now that the tax cuts have been rammed through without any pretense of allowing Democratic input, Democrats aren't exactly lining up to save Republicans from the consequences of slashing government revenue. At least not without getting some Democratic priorities in return, like a deal to allow DACA recipients to stay in the country, and ideally a reversal of the tax law's elimination of the ACA individual mandate. Oh, but there's a little catch: Congress also needs to pass a continuing resolution before Friday to keep the government open.

Republicans introduced a continuing resolution this morning to keep the government funded through January 19; it would include funding to keep the Childrens Health Insurance Program going -- though not a full reauthorization of CHIP. Paul Ryan went on CNBC to emphasize that this is a "clean" continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through the holidays and put off any political wrangling until January:

We're just bringing a clean, what we call vanilla CR — no games, no sneaky things. Just a continuing resolution to get us through this moment to get us into next year [...] It's as clean and simple as possible.

Say, did we mention one little catch? There's actually one more little catch: The bill also contains that PAYGO waiver, literally on the last page of the bill. If Dems sign on to this thing, the government stays open, but Donald Trump gets to sign the tax scam bill right away and Democrats lose one of their biggest bargaining chips. Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that House Republicans will have to pass the CR on their own. There's also no telling what the Senate will do -- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he'd be open to a clean CR that goes into January, so that DACA and other issues can be worked out in detail, but that was before the PAYGO waiver was slipped into the House version today.

Stay tuned. Like everything else this year, things are likely to get stupider.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please click here to prevent a snark shutdown.

[Atlantic / CNBC / Roll Call]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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There could still be a partial shutdown of the government starting Saturday if Congress doesn't pass a budget bill in time, but at least Donald Trump has caved, yet again, on what last week he insisted was absolutely completely necessary to keep the government open. You might remember it -- dude said he'd be PROUD to shut down the government and take credit for it if he didn't get $5 billion to build the thing. Today, he's more like MEH, what wall, he can fund it some other way, maybe, honestly, who cares, it's time for golf, isn't it? Whatever his thinking, Trump has dropped the wall-funding ultimatum, though there's still no budget deal, because congressional Democrats aren't about to take Mitch McConnell's crappy alternative offer, either.

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December 18. One week before Christmas. In a normal and just and sane world, the news cycle would be dying and we'd be decking the halls and trying to find dumb things to write about just to make YOU DINGBATS happy. (Christmas week in 2015 we wrote about an idiot rightwing Christian extremist named Bryan Fischer, who thinks dinosaurs in the Bible were really just VERY OLD GRANDMA BIBLE LIZARDS.) But alas, Barack Obama is no longer president, so the shitshow continues.

Donald Trump is, of course, about to head off on vacation, from his ... paid vacation in Washington. Basically he's just transferring his voluminous ass to a different gold-plated toilet so he can do his Twitter-shits in a sunnier climate. Regardless, Gabe Sherman reports that the White House is on edge, because OH SHIT, PRESIDENT TINKLE SMELLS WILL BE WITHOUT AN ADULT CHAPERONE FOR TWO WEEKS, THIS IS VERY, VERY BAD.

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