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: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds282449
DeSoto186519
Madison141936
Jones118549
Harrison109615
Rankin106315
Neshoba103976
Forrest97243
Lauderdale95481
Scott80915
Jackson74418
Washington70010
Copiah64215
Leake62120
Lee60022
Oktibbeha58928
Holmes57941
Warren57720
Grenada5698
Wayne56018
Yazoo5486
Lowndes53613
Leflore52856
Lamar5227
Lincoln51935
Pike48820
Sunflower4708
Lafayette4644
Monroe43935
Panola4326
Covington4295
Bolivar39418
Simpson3843
Attala38324
Newton36710
Adams34719
Pontotoc3396
Tate33313
Marion32412
Claiborne30011
Winston29611
Chickasaw29319
Pearl River28132
Noxubee2778
Marshall2763
Jasper2716
Clay25611
Walthall2497
Union24611
Smith23712
Coahoma2196
Clarke21725
Lawrence2022
Yalobusha2028
Kemper18314
Tallahatchie1784
Carroll17411
Humphreys16110
Calhoun1605
Montgomery1513
Itawamba1458
Tippah14411
Hancock14113
Webster13411
Jefferson1223
Tunica1213
Jefferson Davis1184
Prentiss1173
George1123
Greene11210
Amite1083
Quitman971
Tishomingo971
Wilkinson969
Alcorn942
Perry794
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin542
Sharkey470
Benton440
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6219167
Mobile4625138
Montgomery4397111
Tuscaloosa258652
Madison19839
Marshall190411
Shelby155724
Lee153537
Morgan12415
Baldwin117011
Walker105631
Elmore100721
Dallas9789
Franklin92816
Etowah91914
DeKalb8647
Russell6650
Chambers66427
Autauga66214
Butler64529
Tallapoosa62569
Unassigned61627
Limestone5963
Houston5616
Lauderdale5556
Cullman5546
St. Clair4842
Colbert4816
Lowndes48022
Escambia4688
Pike4675
Calhoun4565
Coffee4164
Covington40312
Jackson4022
Barbour3772
Bullock37610
Dale3721
Talladega3677
Hale34323
Marengo34211
Clarke3036
Wilcox2998
Chilton2952
Winston2925
Sumter28713
Blount2811
Marion26714
Pickens2626
Monroe2553
Randolph2489
Conecuh2278
Perry2242
Bibb2151
Macon2129
Choctaw20912
Greene1929
Henry1463
Washington1367
Crenshaw1263
Lawrence1210
Cherokee1157
Geneva950
Lamar871
Clay822
Fayette811
Coosa631
Cleburne421
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 78°
Columbus
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 82°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather