Politics Feed

In an exclusive NBC News interview with Lester Holt, the president mentioned the letter, released today, that discusses what his attorneys say show only tangential connections to Russian money. Click image to watch the full NBC news interview. Still no Donald J. Trump tax returns, but today we got another letter from his lawyers regarding his taxes, specifically whether there was any Russian-sourced income on his filings over the last 10 years. The letter, from partners Sheri Dillon and William Nelson of the Washington, D.C., branch of international law firm Morgan Lewis, was addressed to Trump and "hereby confirm[ed] the... Read more →


What's a weight watching person to do? Artificially sweetened soft drinks, a staple of dieters' menus for decades, recently have come under fire as a health, both mental and physical, risk. Now the no-calorie drinks could be a threat to some Seattle soda drinkers' bank accounts. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has revised his original soda tax, reducing the per-ounce amount a bit and adding diet drinks the list of beverages to be taxed. Sugary drinks tax target: In his State of the City address in February, Murray called for a 2 cents per ounce tax on sugary drinks with the... Read more →


The president is back in Washington, D.C., after spending the weekend not at Mar-a-Lago in South Florida, but at a closer family property, Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. A view of the Trump National Golf Club course at Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo courtesy Trump International via Twitter) It was the 14th weekend since his inauguration that Donald J. Trump has headed to one of his eponymous real estate holdings. Trump explained his weekend travel decision twice on, of course, Twitter. First, on May 5, he Tweeted: "Rather than causing a big disruption in N.Y.C., I will be... Read more →


If you're like me, you're probably spending your Sunday perusing the possibilities for tax code change under the Trump Administration's recently announced plan. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, left, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announce the new administration's tax plan on April 26. Click image for full CNN video report. The document — officially titled "2017 Tax Reform for Economic Growth and American Jobs" and officially subtitled "The Biggest Individual And Business Tax Cut in American History" — really is more of an outline. Deleting deductions: Under the proposal's simplification bullet point, the first item is eliminate targeted tax... Read more →


With last week's House passage of an Obamacare replacement measure, Republicans are jazzed again about redoing the U.S. tax code, too. The GOP, however, might have some work to do beyond Capitol Hill. It seems that many Americans are not that impressed with Donald J. Trump's tax plan. Not a warm reception: A Florida Atlantic University (FAU) nationwide online survey conducted just days after the White House's April 26 release of its tax plan found that 41 percent of respondents opposed it. Only 34 percent supported it, while 25 percent were unsure. Those who do support the Trump Administration's tax... Read more →


The House narrowly passed its Obamacare replacement measure this afternoon by a 217 to 213 vote. Now we await Senate action on the GOP bill. That means there's plenty more debate to come before any flip from President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the GOP's American Health Care Act (AHCA). The House voted to repeal Obamacare this afternoon, but we will be waiting for a while before any final replacement of the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Kay Bell) But both Democrats and Republicans do agree on one thing. The Upper Chamber's action won't be any time soon So... Read more →


Whew! We dodged the government shutdown bullet. For now. The House and Senate have agreed on an omnibus spending bill that will keep federal offices open through Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2017. The House is scheduled to vote on the measure today approved the $1.1 trillion bill in a bipartisan 309-118 vote. A Senate vote is expected before the short-term funding measure that's keeping Uncle Sam operating expires at midnight Friday, May 5. The Senate approved the bill Thursday, May 4, sending it to the president for his signature. The way Congress reaches consensus often is described as... Read more →


Donald Trump met with truckers outside the White House and got an up-close-and-personal look at their vehicles before the drivers and industry executives went inside to share their transportation policy thoughts with the president on March 23, 2017. Click screen shot to view the full meeting on YouTube. The long Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer vacations in the United States and most of those are family road trips. For the last few years, gasoline prices haven't been that bad. But Donald J. Trump says he's amenable to adding a few more pennies to our gasoline gallons... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service's third attempt to bring in overdue tax money by using private debt collectors has been in place for less than a month, but some House members are already trying to halt it. Opponents of the program question not only the collection system's costs and efficiency. They also worry that the use of private bill collectors will make it easier for crooks to create even more tax scams. Rep. John Lewis makes his opening statement at last week's Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing on the 2017 tax season. During his remarks, Lewis announced the introduction of... Read more →


The federal deduction for local property tax payments could be eliminated as part of the Trump Administration's tax reform proposal. I'm trying not to get too worked up about the Trump Administration's recently released tax cut plan. In a past career I worked on Capitol Hill and watched first-hand how tax proposals morphed from concept to actual law. But I still get a little knot in my stomach when I think about losing my state and local tax write-offs when I fill out my federal Form 1040. Wait, you say. You're in Texas. There's no state or local income tax... Read more →


More Americans believe the Trump Administration will hike their taxes rather than cut them, according to a new poll. The CBS News survey found 38 percent believe the president will raise their taxes, 25 percent believe he will lower them and 33 percent think their tax bills won't change. The tax increase belief was strongest among poll participants who made less than $100,000. The telephone poll, conducted between April 21-24 by SSRS of Media, Pennsylvania, was released by CBS News on Wednesday, April 26, the same day that the White House revealed its latest tax reform plan. That tax plan,... Read more →


Since Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced on April 19 that he won't seek reelection in 2018 and then the next day suggested he may even leave before his term ends, there has been much speculation as to what this might mean for additional Congressional investigation into possible questionable ties between the Trump Administration and Russia. Chaffetz is, after all, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is one of the Capitol Hill panels with jurisdiction over the international conflict of interest questions. To many, Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, seemed reticent to dive into such inquiries, although today he... Read more →


At midnight on Donald J. Trump's 99th day in the Oval Office, the federal government could shut down. That would be a public relations disaster for the 45th president, who's struggling to show that he and his administration can get things done as he promised in his 100-day contract with voters. "Saw this at my school's accounting career fair," wrote LittleNuclearReactor in a Reddit post during the last government shutdown Oct. 1-16, 2013. But it could be a bigger disaster for folks waiting on their federal tax refunds. Millions left waiting for tax cash: The Center for American Progress (CAP)... Read more →


Around 25,000 people gathered on the U.S. Capitol grounds Saturday, April 15, as part of a nationwide Tax March demanding the president release his tax returns. (Photo courtesy Trump Tax March via Twitter) Donald J. Trump fell back on his "I'm president and you're not" argument in rebuttal to the tens of thousands who marched Saturday, April 15, to demand the president release his federal returns. The morning after the gatherings in almost every state, @realDonaldTrump Tweeted, "Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!" Trump had said during the campaign that... Read more →


Judge Neil Gorsuch, nominated by Donald J. Trump to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the unexpected death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia, was sworn in April 10, 2017, becoming the 113th person to serve on the nation's highest court. Image courtesy White House Facebook video Gorsuch's wife, Marie Louise Gorsuch, held the family bible as Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the oath of office to his former law clerk during a White House Rose Garden ceremony with the president watching. The 49-year-old Gorsuch no doubt will have a say on many tax matters during his lifetime tenure... Read more →


It was supposed to be the annual Capitol Hill review of how the current tax filing season is going. It was supposed to be a time for the Internal Revenue Service to shine since, as the IRS commissioner said during a public speech yesterday, it's been the smoothest filing season since he took the top job in December 2013. It wasn't. During a Senate Finance hearing today, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen revealed more details of security breach connected to federal student aid applications that require inclusion of tax data. Student loan tax data security concerns: While 2017 filing season specifics... Read more →


And so it starts. Again. As mandated by Congress, the Internal Revenue Service has turned over some delinquent tax accounts to private debt collectors. These collection agencies will begin calling affected individuals this week. Yes, private debt collectors are again calling about unpaid federal taxes. Worried much? I am. New tax scam potential: I spelled out my primary concern in a post last month about the private collection letter the IRS had finalized. "If you think this opens the door -- and windows and attic vents -- wide for tax scammers, you are probably correct. And you are not alone.... Read more →


Californians who just can't kick their nicotine habit are now paying substantially more for their addiction. Effective April 1, the Golden State's tobacco tax went up by $2 per a pack of cigarettes. The state's tax on smoking now is $2.87 per pack. And while that is indeed a massive jump, it's just catching up on years of a low tax rate. It's been 20 years since California increased its cigarette tax. The tax increase, the final tax amount and the years it's taken for California to get here each were in the running for this week's By the Numbers... Read more →


The Congressional investigations into alleged improper Russia-Trump Administration connections are attracting worldwide attention. Click image to watch the NBC News clip of Vladimir Putin paraphrasing a famous U.S. tax quote. Even Vladimir Putin, Russia's president and Donald J. Trump's sometimes bromantic partner, chimed in on the issue of his country's hacking of computers during America's 2016 presidential election. "Ronald Reagan, debating about taxes and addressing the Americans, said, 'Watch my lips.' He said, 'No. Watch my lips. No,'" Putin said through an interpreter during a CNBC-moderated discussion March 30 at the annual Arctic Forum in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk.... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service collected more than $3.3 trillion during the 2016 fiscal year. That tax tidbit is part of the agency's 2016 Data Book, which details IRS activities from Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016. After taking a dive in 2009, IRS collection of taxes has increased each of the last five fiscal years even though it's been forced to so with smaller budgets. Bringing in tax dollars and making sure that you, I and all the other U.S. taxpayers comply with the nation's tax laws are two of the IRS' major jobs. But for the last few... Read more →