TRUMP AGENDA: Shutdown averted — for now
A shutdown has been averted — in the short term. From the AP: "Congress passed a stopgap spending bill on Thursday to prevent a government shutdown this weekend and buy time for challenging talks on a wide range of unfinished business on Capitol Hill. The measure passed largely along party lines in the House of Representatives, 235-193, but earned greater approval in the Senate, 81-14. The bill, which would keep the government running through Dec. 22, will now be sent to President Donald Trump. The votes came as Trump and top congressional leaders in both parties huddled to discuss a range of unfinished bipartisan business on Capitol Hill, including the budget, a key children's health program and aid to hurricane-slammed Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida — and, for Democrats and many Republicans, protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children."
The Wall Street Journal looks at Susan Collins' role in the tax overhaul: "Ms. Collins managed to make changes equal to a tenth of the net $1.4 trillion tax cuts in the bill by preserving some tax deductions, expanding others and protecting a retirement-contribution exclusion, based on data from the Joint Committee on Taxation."
And/but: POLITICO notes that Collins' deal on Obamacare is about to face a big test.
From the New York Times: "While Mr. Trump has tried to sell the tax package as a giant tax break for all Americans, a different story is unfolding in New York and other high-tax, mostly Democratic states. The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has estimated that there could be tax increases for as many as 700,000 residents if the legislation is approved. Nearly half of households in surrounding suburban counties itemize their deductions — and stand to lose valuable write-offs of state and local taxes on their federal returns. Some of Mr. Trump's New York friends and colleagues are seeking changes, as are some of the Republican Party's most generous donors. They have called the White House, the Treasury Department and Congress in a furious push to soften the economic blow. Many fear their concerns are falling on deaf ears."
The Washington Post writes that Democrats forced Al Franken out to show that "they — unlike the Republicans — are willing to sacrifice their own in the interest of staking out the high ground."
From Leigh Ann Caldwell and Alex Moe: "Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., announced his resignation Thursday evening as the House Ethics Committee announced it was opening an investigation into potential sexual misconduct. Franks said in a statement that he had discussed his interest in finding a surrogate mother with two women in his office, making them uncomfortable. His wife has struggled with infertility, he said."
And the ethics committee is reviving its investigation of Blake Farenthold.
"President Donald Trump will have a physical exam early next year and will make the results public, the White House said Thursday, a day after the president appeared to slur his words in a public address," writes NBC's Alex Johnson.
The Washington Post checks in with black residents of Mississippi on the eve of Trump's controversial visit there.
Did Trump scuttle the chances of a two-state solution? Palestinians think so, writes the New York Times.
"Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent more than $14,000 on government helicopters this summer to take himself and staff to and from official events near Washington, D.C., in order to accommodate his attendance at a swearing-in ceremony for his replacement in Congress and a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence, according to previously undisclosed official travel documents," POLITICO reports.
OFF TO THE RACES: Deval Patrick is headed to Alabama
AL-SEN: Deval Patrick is headed to Alabama to campaign for Doug Jones.
"Democrats haven't won a statewide election in Alabama in almost a decade. But in 2012, one Democrat almost pulled it off: Bob Vance, a mild-mannered circuit court judge from Birmingham, who came within 4 points of beating none other than Roy Moore," POLITICO writes. "Now Democrats are looking back at that state Supreme Court contest for clues on how their Senate nominee, former U.S. attorney Doug Jones, might improve slightly upon Vance's performance and stage a special election upset in a state long seen as out of reach to the party."
The AP notes the parallels between Roy Moore's campaign and Donald Trump's.
MN-SEN:What's next in Minnesota now that Franken is out?
NBC's Jonathan Allen: "Sen. Al Franken's seat wasn't supposed to be up again until 2020. But his announcement Thursday that he was resigning amid allegations of sexual misconduct sets up a 2018 special election in Minnesota. And Republicans, who hold a 52-48 majority, are now on the hunt for a top-tier candidate in a politically competitive state where President Donald Trump lost by less than 2 percentage points last year."
TN-SEN:The New York Times: "Should Mr. Bredesen become the party's standard-bearer, however, he will test whether the state has undergone an enduring realignment or whether a well-financed and well-known Democrat can win when there is a more favorable climate and a Republican president. (It is often easier for Southern Democrats to prevail when they cannot be linked to a liberal boogeyman in the White House.) The race will also determine if Tennessee's tradition of electing political moderates, whether they be Democrats or Republicans, was a reflection of a less polarized time or still holds as a lasting feature of a varied state that spans two time zones and absorbs Appalachia, the transient-rich New South and more agrarian Old South."