Vulnerable Republicans planning to vote “no” on the tax reform plan Thursday include: Reps. Darrell Issa (CA-49), Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Elise Stefanik (R-21), John Faso (R-NY 19), Dan Donovan (NY-11), Lee Zeldin (NY-01) and Pete King (NY-02). But “Democrats aren’t about to give these members a free pass.The DCCC has signaled it will attack all Republicans for the tax vote, regardless of how they voted, just as it did after the House GOP’s health care vote earlier this year.” (Roll Call)
CALIFORNIA. “Eight of the state’s Republicans plan to vote for the bill, including Reps. Mimi Walters (R-45), Jeff Denham (R-10) and David Valadao (R-21) “and one is leaning toward voting yes. Four others are undecided,” including Reps. Ed Royce (R-39), Steve Knight (R-25), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-48), “and only” Issa “has said he will oppose the bill.” (Los Angeles Times)
NEW YORK. Faso said he plans to vote “no” on the bill. Meanwhile Reps. John Katko (R-24), Tom Reed (R-23) and Chris Collins (R-27) will vote for it. (Syracuse Post-Standard) Faso, Donovan, King and Zeldin held a press conference in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss their opposition. (release)
PENNSYLVANIA. Reps. Ryan Costello (R-06) and Pat Meehan (R-07) “sound like they both plan to back the Republican tax reform when it comes to a floor vote.” (Delco Daily Times)
FEELING GOOD. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05) told a group of reporters Thursday he was increasingly confident Democrats could take back the House, placing the odds at 60 percent. He’s hitting the campaign trail this weekend to stump for 2016 NV-04 candidate Susie Lee (D) in the open NV-03 seat and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis (D) in the open KS-02 seat.
Hoyer also explained his donation and support to candidates in crowded primaries: “You need to have people win the primaries who can win the generals. There’s that sense that we want to try to get the strongest general-election candidate. That is not necessarily always the strongest primary candidate.
“We make a judgment. Is there a predominantly strong candidate in the race that we think can win the general and have the best shot at winning the general. Then we think it’s a responsibility as far as to try to step in and make sure that candidate wins.” (Hotline reporting)
MORE ENDORSEMENTS. Gabby Giffords’s gun-violence prevention group endorsed four more House challengers: Lee, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ 01), 2016 nominee Angie Craig (D), and El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D) in the open TX-16 seat. (Refinery 29)
ON BOARD. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD Pac endorsed five new candidates: lottery winner Gil Cisneros (D) in CA-39; Mike Levin (D) in CA-49; former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings (D) in TX-23; ironworker Randy Bryce (D) in WI-01; and state Rep. Juana Matias (D) in the open MA-03. (release)
Meanwhile, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund endorsed nine openly LGBTQ Democrats, including four challengers in competitive seats: former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones in TX-23, state Rep. David Richardson in the open FL-27 seat, former State Department adviser Lauren Baer in FL-18, and 2016 nominee Angie Craig in MN-02. (release)
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"Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan has resigned following days of large-scale street protests against him." Sargsyan had previously served 10 years as President, and protestors accused him of clinging to power. "In 2015, Armenians voted in a referendum to shift the country from a presidential to a parliamentary system, stripping powers from the president and giving them to the prime minister." Sargsyan's government has also been criticized for failing to ease tensions with Azerbaijan and Turkey, and "for its close ties to Russia, whose leader Vladimir Putin also moved between the positions of president and prime minister to maintain his grip on power."
President Trump "welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron the White House" today to begin a three-day state visit "expected to be dominated by U.S.-European differences on the Iran nuclear deal and souring trade relations." Trump has vowed to scrap the Iran nuclear deal "unless European allies strengthen it by mid-May." After meetings on Monday and Tuesday, Macron will address Congress on Wednesday, "the anniversary of the day that French General Charles de Gaulle addressed a Joint Session of Congress in 1960."
"A sheriff in Illinois says Travis Reinking," the suspect in a mass shooting that killed four people in a Tennessee Waffle House on Sunday, had his state firearms card revoked last year by state police, but that "his guns were given to his father with the promise that they wouldn’t be shared with his son ... Huston says Reinking’s father has a valid firearm ownership card, and his officers didn’t believe they had any authority to seize the weapons." Police are still searching for the 29-year-old suspect.
Senators on both sides of the aisle are beginning to sound skeptical that Ronny Jackson can be confirmed as Veterans Affairs secretary, mostly citing his lack of management experience. "Veterans groups have mostly declined to give Jackson ringing endorsements; and the White House is also aware of specific concerns about Jackson's professional conduct in the Navy that have been taken to Jon Tester in his capacity as ranking member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee."
"President Donald Trump will urge North Korea to act quickly to dismantle its nuclear arsenal when he meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and isn’t willing to grant Pyongyang substantial sanctions relief in return for a freeze of its nuclear and missile tests, administration officials said. Those two closely related questions—the pace of Pyongyang’s nuclear dismantlement and the timetable for sanctions relief—stand to be the major issues of the summit."