The Note: Tremors of seismic change in big political week


PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks during an event on federal regulations in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Titanic political forces are at work, churning through the political landscape.

And – with echoes of not-so-distant history – signs are everywhere that the disruptions have barely begun.

Alabama hinted at a national political turnaround. A Democratic coalition came together to beat back Trumpist forces, revealing a potential to mobilize that extends deep into the nation’s suburbs.

Amid it all, Republicans are looking to drastically remake the policy structure. Their tax push has become a broader statement of priorities that will impact families’ lives directly, even as they scramble to keep the government open into the new year.

Russia, meanwhile, looms larger as ever – complete with efforts to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller, whose true work remains opaque to all but a few in Washington.

Much is being said about the parallels to 2010, or earlier political eras that saw fast-moving events develop into waves.

Big history is being written in intense batches, with much more to come.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

While Congress zeroed in the Republican tax bill and geared up for the final stages of that legislative fight, two additional issues — health care and the decision from the Federal Communications Commission to overturn so-called “net neutrality” rules — animated voters this week (arguably more than the tax bill did).

Today is the last day of open enrollment when Americans can buy individual health insurance plans in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services the level of interest and inquiries was so high that the agency had to start asking people to leave their contact information with the promise that someone would reach out to them soon. Agency officials say those consumers who leave their numbers will still be able to buy plans.
Despite the volume of requests, the agency has not bumped the formal deadline.

And net neutrality broke through this week, at least in progressive and tech circles. Several leading grassroots groups and businesses mobilized their followers around the issue.

It will be interesting to see if Republicans face blowback for not legislating or intervening when the administration officials voted to overturn rules on the books.

The TIP with John Parkinson and Jordyn Phelps

The White House said that President Donald Trump called House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday to let him know he was “unhappy” with reports that the Wisconsin Republican was privately mulling the timing of his retirement.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Ryan assured the president that the reports are untrue and said both are committed to spending much more time together in the years ahead. An aide to the speaker confirmed Sanders’ account of the phone call with the president but declined to add any detail.

At the end of his newser on Thursday, Ryan chuckled and said he’s not quitting in response to a shouted question from a reporter.

“This is pure speculation,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said. “He’s not going anywhere any time soon.”









“It is not the job of the government to pick the winners and losers of the internet … We should have a level playing field.” — FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Thursday when the agency voted to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules.


















The Note is a daily E News All feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.

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