The Note: Will Trump and Republicans' gamble on tax plan prove a winning hand?

Republicans are barreling ahead with their tax cut.

ByRick Klein and MaryAlice Parks
December 14, 2017, 6:08 AM

— -- The TAKE with Rick Klein

Is the dealmaker in a gambling mood?

Republicans are barreling ahead with their tax cut, trading away transparency and legislative popularity in pursuit of a victory that has to happen fast.

Alabama's warning? Sirens about deficits? Hefty benefits for the rich and special interests? The track record of partisan legislation?

All of that has faded away in the push for a tax cut. That has Republicans falling in line behind President Donald Trump at a moment in his presidency that has betrayed political weaknesses.

It was a little bit telling that the president, in what was billed as his "closing argument" for tax reform, was remembering the campaign: "We're proud to be the deplorables. And we're doing well."

The president has his base on his mind, yet again. His party might stand warned as it stands on the precipice of a major rewrite of the tax code.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Doug Jones wants to make friends in Washington. A simple idea that sounds almost foreign these days.

During his first press conference since his upset victory in Alabama's special election this week, Jones not only talked about finding common ground and working across the aisle, but spoke kindly of President Trump and thanked him repeatedly for his "gracious" phone call.

Mentioning congratulatory calls from Republicans may have been intended as a not-so-subtle hint from Jones to his opponent that a polite concession would be nice. When talking about President Trump, the red state Democrat seemed respectful, kind and considerate to the fact that a majority of those he will represent voted for the current Commander in Chief.

True to his brand and the message of his campaign, the senator-elect Wednesday sounded at times more like an independent than a Democrat. He had lessons for his party, sure, but they centered on finding candidates who know their districts well and won't waiver on convictions.

Jones emphasized that he wanted to stay "accessible" to those who didn't vote for him, another rare concept these days.

"All too often we forget those people who did not vote for you…those people can't be forgotten," he said.

Perhaps some sage advice for Washington.

The TIP with John Parkinson

In the aftermath of the Alabama Senate election – in which Democrat Doug Jones delivered a historic win over Republican candidate Roy Moore – Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who ran against Moore in the GOP Senate primary, said that losing "may have saved my life."

In an emotional speech on the House floor on Wednesday, Brooks announced he'll likely miss votes next week because he's having prostate cancer surgery on Friday. He explained that had he won the GOP Senate primary in Alabama, he would never have had time to get screened, and he wouldn't know he has cancer.

With his voice cracking at times, Brooks talked about the ordeal he faces. He initially delayed surgery at "some risk to myself" only for House Speaker Paul Ryan to last week "abruptly" change the House voting calendar that "I relied on to set my surgery."

"In retrospect, and paradoxically, losing the Senate race may have saved my life. Yes, God does work in mysterious ways," he said, wrapping up his remarks.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Today marks the fifth anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 children and six staff members were killed.
  • President Donald Trump will participate in an event regarding deregulation at 2:30 p.m. ET.
  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act House-Senate Conference will hold an open meeting at 2 p.m. ET.
  • The Federal Communications Commission will vote today on whether to remove net neutrality rules implemented during the Obama administration.
  • U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will be at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. today to lay out "irrefutable evidence" that Iran violated its international obligations in regards to the Iran nuclear agreement.
  • Four people related to the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally will appear in court at 1 p.m. ET including the driver of the vehicle that charged into the crowd and killed one individual.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen host a strategic dialogue with their Mexican counterparts on disrupting transnational criminal organizations at 9:10 a.m. ET.
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee will hear testimony from former Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker and others on U.S. policy and strategy in the Middle East.
  • The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on foreign investment in the United States at 9 a.m. ET.
  • NASA will announce the latest discoveries made by its Kepler Space Telescope planet-hunting mission at 1 p.m. ET.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "I'd say 'Roy, do the right thing.'" — Alabama Senator-elect Doug Jones when Wednesday what he would say to Roy Moore after the Republican candidate refused to concede the election Tuesday night.

    NEED TO READ

  • Trump gives 'closing argument' on taxes as Senate and House Republicans reach potential agreement. In what administration officials billed as a "closing argument" on tax reform, President Donald Trump used a speech in the grand foyer of the White House Wednesday to amplify voices of Americans he claims will directly benefit from the Senate and House Republican tax reform agreement announced earlier in the day. (Alexander Mallin, Jordyn Phelps and Cecilia Vega) http://abcn.ws/2C4wVLp
  • Trump adviser Omarosa Manigault resigning post, White House says. This marks the departure of one of the most prominent supporters and members of the president's team, a rare minority on the president's senior staff and most often the only person of color in the room. (Katherine Faulders and Karen Travers) http://abcn.ws/2Ajhuyg
  • Roy Moore's loss in Alabama sparks finger-pointing in the White House at McConnell and Bannon. President Trump has not yet publicly cast blame for Roy Moore's defeat for Senate in deep red Alabama, but inside the White House, his team is sharply divided and pointing fingers. (Katherine Faulders, John Santucci and Jonathan Karl) http://abcn.ws/2yohECR
  • Moore accuser: 'It's a relief to know' he lost. Beverly Young Nelson, the woman who accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of trying to assault her when she was 16 years old, told ABC News that she was "surprised" and "happy" he lost the race. (Julia Jacobo) http://abcn.ws/2yqLnLs
  • Moore will be 'lasting' stain on Republican Party, Sen. Jeff Flake says. Though Republican Roy Moore was defeated in Alabama's special election Tuesday, one GOP senator still worries that the embattled candidate has done damage to the party. (Nicki Zink) http://abcn.ws/2BjAXTd
  • Moore refusing to concede Alabama Senate race, says 'battle rages on.' Roy Moore released a video on Wednesday night, saying "the battle rages on," and vowing every ballot should be counted. (Mark Osborne) http://abcn.ws/2CjFoLJ
  • ANALYSIS: Alabama result more about the GOP and Trump than Alabama. The vast majority of voters in our country are frustrated with the status quo, desire candidates with common sense and integrity, want leaders to put country over party and are tired of the two major parties. But the recent election results in Virginia, and now Alabama, show the voters in America are especially upset at one political party (the GOP) and one leader (President Donald Trump). (Matthew Dowd) http://abcn.ws/2Cb1MGK
  • Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named as Al Franken's replacement in Senate. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will head to Washington to temporary fill the Senate seat left vacant by Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who resigned last week in the midst of sexual misconduct allegations and an ethics committee investigation. (Veronica Stracqualursi) http://abcn.ws/2j1zCG5
  • Rosenstein defends Mueller, FBI; pushes back at suggestion of bias in Russia probe. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered a strong defense of Robert Mueller's appointment and actions as special counsel Wednesday and further praised the FBI, even as the bureau has been criticized by President Donald Trump in recent weeks. (Mike Levine and Adam Kelsey) http://abcn.ws/2ABnHdg
  • Attorney general, DHS secretary tie NYC terror attack to 'failures' in immigration system. Sessions said that chain migration, the process of immigrants helping their family members immigrate, and the diversity visa lottery were responsible for terrorists entering the U.S. (Geneva Sands and Matt Seyler) http://abcn.ws/2Alk6Mb
  • Former McConnell aide 'relieved' Moore lost, calls Bannon 'the emperor who had no clothes'. Josh Holmes, political strategist and former Sen. Mitch McConnell aide, said he was relieved Roy Moore lost in Tuesday's close U.S. Senate race in Alabama. He spoke to ABC News' Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein about what the election could mean for the GOP on the Powerhouse Politics podcast Wednesday. (Matt Seyler) http://abcn.ws/2iZl9u3
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she took Trump's 'do anything' remark as sexual innuendo. New York's junior senator said that women are standing up to sexual harassment and assault and "are not going to be silenced," while doubling down on her claim that the president's attack against her was "a sexist smear." (Veronica Stracqualursi) http://abcn.ws/2iYgWqv
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer alerts police to alleged plot to smear him with sexual harassment claim. Schumer's office says the Senate Democratic Leader was the target of an attempted smear campaign in which someone forged a sexual harassment claim against him and shopped phony court documents to major media outlets. (Mary Bruce, Lauren Pearle and Chris Vlasto) http://abcn.ws/2nZqQxD
  • Nikki Haley vows to present 'irrefutable evidence' Iran 'deliberately violated international obligations'. Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, is set to lay out Thursday what the Trump administration claims is "irrefutable evidence that Iran has deliberately violated its international obligations and has tried and failed to cover up these violations," her office said in a statement Wednesday. (Kirit Radia and Conor Finnegan) http://abcn.ws/2AU4uAc
  • Biden, Meghan McCain get emotional talking about her father's cancer diagnosis. Former Vice President Joe Biden shared an emotional moment with co-host Meghan McCain on "The View" this morning as they discussed her father's brain cancer diagnosis. (Meghan Keneally) http://abcn.ws/2Anbzbm
  • The Washington Post breaks down county-by-county how Doug Jones pulled off an upset victory in the Alabama Senate race against Judge Roy Moore. http://wapo.st/2CbtEuu
  • The Trump administration is seeking to cut $568 million from key counterterrorism programs including incident response teams, air marshals, and nuclear detection, according to Foreign Policy Magazine. http://atfp.co/2o21HCg
  • 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.

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