It’s easy for Democrats to get excited about Michelle Nunn (D): She raises a lot of money, has a last name famous in Georgia, and has had close to a year to build her campaign before the general election. But now that David Perdue (R) has (somewhat unexpectedly) won the Republican Party’s nomination for Senate, it’s time for a reality check. Is a Democrat really going to win in Georgia, and are they really going to do it in 2014? — Democrats haven’t won a Senate or gubernatorial race in Georgia since 2000, when Zell Miller claimed victory. The state’s changing demographics have nudged it toward competitiveness, but President Obama lost handily there in 2008 and 2012. We might soon talk about the Peach State as a presidential battleground, but it’s not quite there yet. — Consider, especially, that it’s a midterm year — when minority participation drops as a share of the electorate — in which Obama’s approval numbers are dismal. A poll commissioned by Democracy Corps and the Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund released Tuesday found that in a dozen presidential battlegrounds (including Georgia), the president stood at just 37 percent. — Republicans eyeing the race believe it will be competitive but are confident that Perdue will ultimately prevail. Their big, early general election spending has not yet come to Georgia: No major outside group like the Chamber of Commerce or American Crossroads targeted Nunn in TV ads during the two-month runoff, the perfect time, in theory, to soften her up before the fall. It’s a sign Republicans aren’t feeling threatened by her, at least not yet. Perdue, a former high-flying CEO who Rep. Jack Kingston (R) knocked for living in a gated community, will be vulnerable to the same playbook Democrats so effectively ran in 2012 against Mitt Romney, and it would be foolhardy to write this race off yet. But as this race reaches the general election, it’s hard to consider Nunn anything other than a clear-cut underdog.— Alex Roarty
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President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.