Rejecting what President Donald Trump stands for is not the same as rejecting what he wants to do.
Yes, Democrats remade the electorate, and they did it the old-fashioned way. They scored wins in culture wars and drawing energy they hadn't yet harnessed in the age of Trump.
But the point of it all is policy. As the focus turns back there, Republicans are viewing the results as a wake-up call – with a donor class eager to offer lawmakers a jolt.
"We've got to get our job done," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in responding to the GOP setbacks of Tuesday night.
The policy fight over taxes now becomes even bigger than it was before. Election Day 2017 presented mixed takeaways for a Republican Party taking uneasy cues from a president who has displayed little loyalty either to ideology or the people running in his party.
Democrats will now view the tax fight as a chance to extend a political winning streak. Republicans see delivering on a priority as more urgent than ever – even if their rank-and-file has fresh reason to fear what it means to be in the party in the age of Trump.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
The House tax reform bill costs too much.
That is to say, right in its current form it would not fly under budget rules set up in the Senate. The Congressional Budget Office announced Wednesday the bill would increase the federal deficit by $1.7 trillion dollars over the next decade, roughly $200 billion over what the Senate budget bill had allotted for.
Heeding the president's call, some Republicans are floating the idea of including an amendment to the bill that would repeal of the requirement that everyone have health insurance. They asked the CBO to look into that again, and voila, it turns out scrapping the mandate saves the government about $300 billion. So, in theory they could tack it on, get the number down, avoid headlines about how the House sent the Senate a bill they knew could not work over there and gut Obamacare while they're at it.
The downside, Republicans learned over the summer that health care is complicated and that one addition to the tax bill could bring a whole host of other political risks. Plus, while the House Ways and Means Committee Chair says he wants to get the total cost down, is finagling with numbers worth it when the Senate is writing its own bill anyway?
The Senate Finance Committee says they plan to release language Thursday. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he did not have "any comment at all" about the House proposal.
"We're going to let them work their way through the process. And, as I indicated, the Senate proposal will be out there for all of you to look at."
The TIP with Benjamin Siegel
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise challenged Rep. Sam Johnson to a race around the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday morning on their motor scooters.
Scalise – who lost the race to Johnson – has been using a Louisiana State University-themed scooter to get around the Capitol since returning to work in September, after he was shot at a Republican congressional baseball game practice in June.
President Trump held a bilateral meeting and delivered a joint statement to the press with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump and first lady Melania Trump attended a state dinner and viewed a cultural performance in Beijing.
President Trump and the first lady wrapped up their two-day trip to China and will head to Da Nang, Vietnam.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will release its version of the House tax reform plan today. The Senate Finance Committee is slated to mark-up the bill next week.
Vice President Mike Pence visits Plainfield, Ind. with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta to discuss tax reform with local business leaders and families.
The U.S. district court in Washington will hold a preliminary hearing on Mustafa al-Imam, a Libyan national charged with participating in the 2012 Benghazi attack.
Senator Rand Paul's attacker, Rene Boucher appears in court in Bowling Green, Ky.
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivers remarks on cyber crime and regulatory reform at the BWI Business Partnership breakfast Thursday.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa presents the USCP Medal of Honor to five officers who risked their lives to save congressmen during the Republican Congressional baseball team's practice in June.
Top military, foreign-policy and intelligence leaders will discuss global security and America at Defense One Summit in Washington beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET. http://abcn.ws/2znTqNK
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Congratulations to all of the "DEPLORABLES" and the millions of people who gave us a MASSIVE (304-227) Electoral College landslide victory!" -- President Donald Trump on Twitter Thursday, the one-year anniversary he was elected president.
NEED TO READ
House GOP tax plan would add $1.7 trillion to deficit: CBO. The plan adds $1.4 trillion to the deficit, but that figure goes up to $1.7 trillion with interest, according to the CBO, which put the review together in response to a request for information from Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. (Benjamin Siegel) http://abcn.ws/2yiGdBO
Trump: 'I don't blame China' for US-China trade imbalances. President Donald Trump has long decried the trade imbalances between the United States and China, even going so far as a presidential candidate to say it amounted to economic "rape." But as he complained about those inequities on Chinese turf on Thursday, the president offered a surprising qualifier: "I don't blame China." (Jordyn Phelps) http://abcn.ws/2hfFjiD
Trump sees 'great chemistry' with Xi as key to North Korea, trade balance. President Donald Trump expressed optimism after a meeting Thursday morning with Chinese President Xi Jingping that warm personal ties with the leader of a country he's frequently disparaged will translate to progress on North Korea and trade. "Our meeting this morning was excellent discussing North Korea," Trump said. (Devin Dwyer) http://abcn.ws/2zunyX6
Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will likely meet, Kremlin reportedly says. The Kremlin has reportedly said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will most likely meet with President Donald Trump at an economic summit in Vietnam later this week, and that both sides are discussing the timing. (Patrick Reevell) http://abcn.ws/2hkjMcl
'Powerhouse Politics' podcast: Steyer claims Democratic establishment sweeping Trump offenses 'under the rug.' Billionaire activist Tom Steyer won’t call it a litmus test. But he says Democrats in Congress and those running for office should pay attention to his petition advocating President Donald Trump’s impeachment. http://abcn.ws/2zuSx5x
ANALYSIS: A year after election, Trump's shockwaves still reverberate. The year after Donald Trump's victory has demonstrated that the election did not merely expose the nation's divisions - it exacerbated them. (Rick Klein) http://abcn.ws/2jd7tPn
ANALYSIS: Issues, Trump drove voters to Democrats but will those voters bounce back? A surge in liberals and minority voters changed the makeup of the electorate compared to a year ago, and white women, especially those with a college degree, swung away from this White House. (MaryAlice Parks) http://abcn.ws/2zsqh3q
10 big political moments since Trump's election. A year after Donald Trump won the presidential election in one of the biggest political upsets in modern U.S. history, he and his team have struggled to advance key parts of their legislative agenda. (Meghan Keneally) http://abcn.ws/2hedLds
On 1-year anniversary of election defeat, Clinton says 'we are on the right track.' Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said the country is on the right track when it comes to rejecting Republican ideologies. "I think the fever is finally breaking," Clinton said in an interview on "Late Night with Seth Meyers." (Karma Allen) http://abcn.ws/2zsRRxA
FEMA offers to airlift Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico to US mainland. Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, approximately 3,000 people are still in shelters on the island. Now, FEMA is offering to airlift these Hurricane Maria victims from Puerto Rico to the United States to reach temporary housing. (Rex Sakamoto) http://abcn.ws/2AvNgbK
Democratic wins in Virginia mean trouble for 2018, say Republicans. Republicans looking ahead to the 2018 midterms are reevaluating their political playbooks after Democrats trounced Republicans up and down the ballot in Virginia Tuesday night. (Meridith McGraw and Benjamin Siegel) http://abcn.ws/2AlK2XB
New efforts emerge on Capitol Hill to tackle gun control. Democrats announced Wednesday the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, which would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammo magazines. (Mariam Khan) http://abcn.ws/2hgbi22
Pence addresses prayer vigil in Texas town devastated by shooting: 'Faith is stronger than evil.' Vice President Mike Pence stepped into the role of consoler-in-chief on Wednesday with a visit to Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Jordyn Phelps) http://abcn.ws/2hmnbaK
TSA fails most tests in latest undercover operation at US airports. In recent undercover tests of multiple airport security checkpoints by the Department of Homeland Security, inspectors said screeners, their equipment or their procedures failed more than half of the time, according to a source familiar with the classified report. (David Kerley and Jeffrey Cook) http://abcn.ws/2AoalfA
New Cuba policy will restrict travel for Americans. Starting Thursday, U.S. tourists and companies will no longer be able to do business with a long list of entities that allegedly have ties to Cuban military, intelligence or security services. (Conor Finnegan) http://abcn.ws/2znTqNK
Controversy erupts over alleged push to spin off CNN in media mega-merger. Amid antitrust concerns over a potential merger between AT&T and Time Warner, a controversy has erupted over whether AT&T would have to sell off CNN to sidestep those concerns. According to U.S. Department of Justice officials, AT&T offered just days ago to divest from CNN and later sell the news network. But the chairman and CEO of AT&T suggested otherwise. (Mike Levine) http://abcn.ws/2zqhyiq
WSJ: Look inside the DeVos family office. Disclosures filed by Betsy DeVos since her nomination as U.S. education secretary a year ago provide a rare look into one family office and into one of America's greatest fortunes. http://on.wsj.com/2j9OdSX
Politico: Tee Times, smoothie diets, and fat paychecks: A look inside Post-Trump life. Politico reports on the current lives of former Trump administrators like Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer. http://politi.co/2yfR3II
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.