This Week on Washington Week: Republicans on the verge of overhauling tax laws, what the Alabama Senate race could mean for 2018 midterm elections

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After nearly two weeks in conference reconciling differences between the House and Senate tax bills, negotiators appear to have reached a compromise.  The proposed changes, highlighted by a reduced 21 percent corporate tax rate and 37 percent individual rate for America’s highest earners, will create the most significant change to the tax code in more than 30 years, and represent President Trump’s first significant legislative victory since taking office.

Reconciliation of the bill came a day after Republican U.S Senate candidate Roy Moore lost Alabama’s special election to Democrat Doug Jones.  The loss of the safe Republican seat and prospect of a 51 to 49 Senate majority is motivating GOP leadership to vote on a final tax bill early next week, but Democrats are calling for a delay until Doug Jones takes his seat in the Senate. 

Republican’s razor-thin Senate majority makes passage there less certain.  Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is "non-committal,"  Sen. Marco Rubio (R- Florida) is promising “big problems” if the child tax credit is not expanded, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) doesn't believe the top individual tax rate should be lowered.  Republican leadership is yet to secure endorsements from prior hold-outs Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

Robert Costa breaks down the provisions in the current tax bill and discusses the final hurdles to passage with:

Kristen Welker of NBC News

Jeff Zeleny of CNN

Nancy Cordes of CBS News

Shawna Thomas of VICE News

Continuing this Friday, December 15, and Fridays at 8:30 PM ET/PT through December 29, 2017, PBS will add a second half-hour of WASHINGTON WEEK (click here for local broadcast times). 

On this week’s WASHINGTON WEEK EXTRA, fallout from the Alabama Senate race and what it could mean for the 2018 midterm elections, plus the growing feud between President Trump and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Alabama voters sent a strong message of repudiation to controversial Republican candidate Roy Moore this week, electing Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate.   The former state supreme court judge remains defiant and has not conceded the race.  Moore’s support held steady in the traditionally conservative, rural counties of Alabama, but accusations of inappropriate contact with teenagers when he was in his 30's, led younger, more educated, suburban, and urban Republican voters to switch sides, vote for a write-in candidate, or stay home.  This combined with record turn-out amongst African American and female voters helped turn the tide in Doug Jones’ favor.

Jones’ victory is a major political setback for President Trump and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon who urged Trump to endorse Moore. The President displayed little upset at the result and instead took to Twitter to say he had known all along that Moore was unelectable.  

But the greatest dismay over Trump’s use of Twitter came earlier in the week after he directed a seemingly sexist and defamatory tweet in Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) direction after she said the president should resign after multiple women renewed their sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Robert Costa analyses the Alabama election results and whether Democrats' confidence going into 2018 midterms is warranted, and whether the showdown between Trump and Gillibrand is a harbinger of the 2020 presidential race with:

Kristen Welker of NBC News

Jeff Zeleny of CNN

Nancy Cordes of CBS News

Shawna Thomas of VICE News

Don Dailey of Alabama Public Television