McCain is missing as shutdown blame game escalates

Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a gli...

Posted: Jan 22, 2018 6:51 AM
Updated: Jan 22, 2018 6:51 AM

Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines today.

1) McCain missing from the shutdown debate

McCain's continued absence from the Hill is felt even more during the shutdown

GOP hopes to sell tax reform bill to gain a midterms bump

As the government stays closed, there's a prominent voice missing from the shutdown blame game. Senator John McCain of Arizona, is back home getting treatment for brain cancer.

As CNN's John King reports, McCain released a statement saying both sides share the blame for DC dysfunction. But the senator's absence from the Hill hasn't gone unnoticed.

"The words of the senator's friends are very telling. Three weeks ago, Senator Lindsey Graham said McCain would be back in Washington for January's big debates. This week he told CNN he hopes his friend will be back soon, sometime soon. Soon, though, does not appear to mean this month," King explains.

"A source in touch with McCain tells CNN he will not plan to be here for President Trump's State of the Union address. That's on January 30th."

2) Coming soon: a Romney announcement?

Will he run or won't he? The Mitt Romney-for-Senate rumors have been swirling ever since veteran Sen. Orrin Hatch announced his retirement, opening up his Utah seat.

As CNN's Maeve Reston tells us, expect an announcement from the former Massachusetts governor as early as the end of this week.

"His next big task ahead of him is not only building a lean and very Utah-centric campaign, but also to gather all the signatures he needs to get on the ballot. People around him are saying that he is probably going to collect ... as many as double the number he needs to show he's got the grassroots support out there," Reston reports.

"You'll see a lot of campaign staffers and former campaign staffers jumping on the plane to help him."

3) GOP plan to sell tax reform ahead of 2018 midterms

Republicans face a tough year ahead as their party gears up for midterms. The latest CNN poll conducted by SSRS shows Democrats a have a slight advantage among registered voters when it comes to their choice for Congress -- 49% Democrat to 44% Republican. Among enthusiastic voters, it's worse for the GOP with 56% choosing Democrats and 41% Republicans.

The Washington Post's Dan Balz explains that the tax reform bill that passed last month -- and how it's sold to the public -- could be a key factor as the midterms get closer.

"The Republicans who I've been talking to recently believe that there's an opportunity and they're going to spend millions of dollars trying to do this -- making a big bet on convincing people that the tax bill is good for them. Every poll we've seen so far, most people think that it's tilted toward the wealthy. It's improved a little bit in some of the recent polls, but there's still a long way to go," Balz says.

"They (Republicans) feel there's a story to tell and they're going to try to do it. If they fail, they know they're going to be in big trouble in November."

4) Lessons from the DREAM Act

A Capitol Hill history lesson: The DREAM Act is very much in the conversation right now, given the government shutdown. But the legislation and the drama surrounding it have actually been around for awhile now.

Senators Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch first introduced it in 2001 and controversy has followed every since.

Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur shares his reporting on the DREAM Act, which would grant a conditional green card to all current recipients in the DACA program. Despite being reintroduced several times, the bill has yet to pass.

"It's gotten a number of votes in Congress every step of the way. It's been supported by a majority of Democrats and opposed by a majority of congressional Republicans. That includes Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell, and their leadership teams right now," Kapur reports.

"They will not touch this issue unless President Trump supports something specific and gives them political cover for it. He is going to be critical to getting this government reopened again if Democrats are going to be able to say they have some sort of end game on DACA -- that's why they're dug in right now."

5) Bannon's Russia investigation motivations

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is on the outs with Trump and the administration after comments attributed to him in Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" book.

Congressional investigators took note of those quotes and interviewed him this past week about his Trump campaign and WH dealings and how they relate to the Russia investigation.

But CNN's Sara Murray explains that Bannon may have a strategy when it comes to his controversial comments.

"I've spoken to Republicans who are taking a more charitable view of what Bannon said," she says. "They say, 'Look, this is a smart guy. This is the president's former chief strategist.' They say he's looking down the line and he sees that the Trump White House is going down and basically wants to be on the right side of history."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118587

Reported Deaths: 3310
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8050179
DeSoto728580
Harrison549185
Jackson480088
Rankin404686
Madison386194
Lee366582
Forrest311878
Jones296684
Washington2627100
Lafayette255043
Lauderdale2546135
Lamar231940
Oktibbeha204855
Bolivar203979
Neshoba1868111
Lowndes181962
Panola172040
Leflore170688
Sunflower164349
Warren156156
Monroe153873
Pontotoc150620
Marshall148430
Lincoln143359
Pike140656
Copiah139336
Scott127029
Coahoma125837
Union125825
Yazoo123434
Simpson123149
Grenada122939
Tate121039
Itawamba117226
Leake116342
Pearl River116360
Holmes115060
Adams109445
Prentiss109220
Alcorn104512
Wayne102722
George101719
Covington98829
Marion95943
Tippah94924
Newton87227
Hancock86828
Chickasaw86727
Tallahatchie85526
Winston85221
Tishomingo82741
Attala80527
Clarke77053
Clay71022
Jasper69617
Walthall64427
Calhoun63313
Noxubee60217
Smith60216
Yalobusha56416
Montgomery55823
Lawrence54414
Claiborne53916
Tunica53717
Perry52423
Carroll50312
Stone49114
Greene48118
Humphreys45117
Amite42813
Quitman4236
Jefferson Davis42112
Webster37813
Benton36710
Wilkinson34221
Kemper33315
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27910
Franklin2513
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 161537

Reported Deaths: 2718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23769383
Mobile17039318
Tuscaloosa10539141
Montgomery10435199
Madison946798
Shelby756365
Baldwin674369
Lee662465
Calhoun468962
Marshall445251
Etowah436552
Morgan426335
Houston421234
DeKalb351229
Elmore326558
St. Clair307042
Limestone295131
Walker285593
Talladega273937
Cullman260025
Lauderdale237143
Jackson221917
Autauga210331
Colbert208232
Franklin207732
Blount198825
Russell19763
Chilton190932
Dallas188127
Coffee182611
Dale180852
Covington176729
Escambia175331
Clarke138017
Chambers137047
Pike135514
Tallapoosa135387
Marion110331
Barbour10459
Marengo103522
Butler101541
Winston94313
Geneva9357
Lawrence87733
Pickens87418
Bibb85615
Randolph84316
Hale78030
Cherokee76114
Clay75812
Washington75412
Henry7286
Lowndes71728
Monroe66010
Bullock65017
Crenshaw61130
Perry5966
Fayette59413
Cleburne5779
Wilcox57112
Conecuh56513
Macon54120
Lamar5165
Sumter47721
Choctaw39412
Greene34616
Coosa2143
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