The clock is ticking on groups like the Madison Project, Senate Conservatives Fund and ““ to a lesser extent ““ the Club for Growth. Today’s National Journal magazine cover story tracks the GOP establishment striking back in this year’s primaries; the flip side of that story is the relative ineffectiveness of their rebellious conservative counterparts.
— It’s why the primary in Nebraska looms as a major moment in the 2014 campaign. There, after FreedomWorks’ unusual shift, conservative groups are aligned in unison behind Midland University president Ben Sasse against the more establishment-friendly former state treasurer, Shane Osborn. Sasse looks like the favorite right now, although it’s been a competitive race thus far. And if Sasse wins, groups like SCF can likely count on a fundraising victory lap that will spill over into other Senate primaries.
— Other opportunities have petered out. SCF went all in on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s challenger Matt Bevin (R) in a Kentucky race that’s closing with a whimper instead of a bang. (The same goes for Milton Wolf‘s (R) primary in Kansas against Sen. Pat Roberts.) Establishment candidates are on the march in North Carolina and Georgia. Even a candidate like onetime super lobbyist Ed Gillespie (R) in Virginia would seem primed for a challenge from the right; instead, he’s waltzing to the GOP nomination.
— Conservative groups have also lined up behind state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) in Mississippi, but his campaign has been dogged by revelations of a litany of offensive remarks he made as a talk show radio host. If he defeats Sen. Thad Cochran (R), the story might be less about conservative triumph than conservative outside groups giving Democrats, backing former Blue Dog Rep. Travis Childers (D), an outside chance at winning the state.
CFG still has a number of House primaries where they can claim primary victories. But in the Senate landscape, it’s Nebraska or bust.
— Alex Roarty
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"Even as he acknowledged the importance of an open internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday set his telecom agency on a course to scrap the tough, broad net neutrality protections imposed by the Obama administration. During a major speech in Washington, D.C., Pai outlined the need for a total revision of existing federal rules that seek to prevent companies like AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon from blocking or slowing down web content, including the movie or music offerings from their competitors." Separately, Pai told Reason's Nick Gillespie that the Clinton Administration "basically got it right when it came to digital infrastructure. We were not living in a digital dystopia in the years leading up to 2015."
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.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement today established the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE), as called for in a presidential executive order from January. The new office's website states that its staff "will be guided by a singular, straightforward mission—to ensure victims and their families have access to releasable information about a perpetrator and to offer assistance explaining the immigration removal process."