Toronto Star: Trump backs himself into a corner on wall shutdown after TV address

I spoke to Daniel Dale of The Toronto Star about the ongoing shutdown, the President’s prime time address, and the limited remaining options for resolving the impasse:

He did not take the opportunity to declare a national emergency, as he has mused about doing. An emergency declaration could allow him to tap into potential funding sources for the wall without having to get the usual congressional authorization.

It would also be certain to be challenged in court, likely turning into a long legal battle without an immediate winner. But that, some observers said, may be the best possible outcome for Trump at this point.

“At the moment I think it’s less about getting the wall built and more about getting out of this jam without being seen as capitulating,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist and a lobbyist.

Read the full piece here.

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Bloomberg Tax: Lame-Duck Bill Would Allow Church Politicking, Delay Health Taxes

I spoke to Allyson Versprille of Bloomberg Tax regarding House Republicans’ latest attempt at a lame-duck tax package:

“The clear imperative of this package is to cobble together 218 votes and get it to the Senate, and everything that has been included or omitted was done to that end,” said Liam Donovan, a principal at Bracewell LLP in Washington.

For example, the relief from the various ACA taxes is a major priority of key business groups and the law’s ideological foes, while social conservatives support the provision allowing unborn children to be named beneficiaries of college savings plans, Donovan told Bloomberg Tax in an email.

Other provisions, such as collegiate housing grants for Greek organizations “satisfy noncontroversial niche priorities for individual members,” he said.

“All serve some purpose at the margins toward hitting the magic number,” he said.

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Bloomberg Tax: Lame Duck Tax Bill Prospects

I spoke with Allyson Versprille of Bloomberg Tax about the dwindling prospects for a large-scale tax package passing during the lame duck, and the procedural challenge facing lawmakers to include any tax title at all:

The House didn’t vote Nov. 30 on a year-end tax bill that had been expected to go to the floor by that time, hurting the odds for the package moving forward this year at all.

Liam Donovan, a principal at Bracewell LLP in Washington, said canceling the vote “tells me the odds of a bigger package this year just went from slim to none.”

Because of the delay, lawmakers may not have the time they need to overcome the various procedural hurdles between the House and Senate to pass a bill, he told Bloomberg Tax in an email.

“It will come down to the timing on a spending deal,” Donovan said. It’s hard to see anything getting done on tax by Dec. 7, but “if they buy an extra week or two with a short-term” continuing resolution “to get to a broader deal, that puts more time on the clock to solve your procedural problems from a tax standpoint,” he said.

Read the entire piece here ($).

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