Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “still has a slate of brutal GOP primaries looming in the first half of this year that could jeopardize his party’s hold on the Senate—even with [Steve] Bannon out of the picture, assuming that his breakup with President Donald Trump and the wealthy Mercer family lasts. Still, McConnell’s team believes—probably with good reason—that their job in 2018 is now significantly easier without Bannon to marshal insurgent forces against incumbent Republican senators and cost the party crucial Senate seats.”
McConnell allies “say the party can focus on selling a still-unpopular tax law to the American public and picking up Senate seats in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.”
But several contested primaries still loom, in states such as Indiana, Wisconsin, Nevada, and West Virginia. (Politico)
INFRASTRUCTURE FORM. DSCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen “says his party will gauge support for potential infrastructure investments based on a specific GOP plan, expected this month.” Van Hollen added that “federal efforts to shore up crumbling roads, bridges and other shared infrastructure needs must primarily benefit states rather than private investors and corporate interests.” (The Hill)
MONEY MATTERS. Susie Tompkins Buell, a major Democratic donor, “says she is reconsidering her support for the women in the U.S. Senate who called for” former Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) resignation. “Buell described the push for Franken’s departure as ‘unfair,’ ‘cavalier,’ and somewhat politically motivated — ‘a stampede,’ ‘like a rampage,’ she said, speaking in stark terms about senators she has backed for years, naming” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) “in particular.”
“Since 1991, Buell has contributed to nearly every one of the 17 Democratic women currently serving in the Capitol’s upper chamber, according to campaign filings. She has given the most to Gillibrand and her PAC, Off the Sidelines, a group dedicated to supporting other female candidates.” (Buzzfeed)
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"A coalition of law firms led by Boies Schiller Flexner and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) announced Wednesday they filed lawsuits in four states challenging the winner-take-all method used to allocate electors in presidential elections. The lawsuits—filed in two Democratic-leaning states, Massachusetts and California, and two traditionally Republican states, South Carolina and Texas—claim the winner-take-all system violates the constitutional rights to free association, political expression and equal protection."
236 mayors, representing cities in 47 states and territories, signed a letter to the EPA opposing the Trump administration's move to roll back the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan (CPP)." The letter says a roll back would have "devastating health and economic impacts on their communities." The EPA has been considering a plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan since at least October.
"The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday narrowed the scope of whistleblower protection under the Dodd-Frank Act, ruling unanimously that employees must first report alleged securities violations to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The decision in Digital Realty v. Somers stated that simply complaining of wrongdoing within the employee’s company does not trigger the protections of the law."