The Hill’s 12:30 Report — GOP’s plan to reset the tax code hits headwinds

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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

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What if instead of paying various taxes, we *just* paid a 30 percent sales tax?:

A group of House conservatives are considering a controversial, old proposal to do away with the current tax system and essentially abolish the IRS.

The gist: Instead of income taxes, payroll taxes and estate taxes, Americans would pay a hefty 30 percent sales tax on all purchases.

The gist of the arguments for and against the plan: Proponents say it will hugely simplify the tax code. It would put the burden on the government to collect taxes, not individuals. Critics, however, point out it would make necessities (groceries, cars, etc.) *much* more expensive. Critics also say it would benefit the wealthier in the U.S., who can save a higher percentage of their untaxed income.

A caveat: Because this system would give a tax advantage to wealthier Americans, the bill includes a cash payout to low-income Americans to offset the burden. That leaves middle class Americans, who don’t benefit from either, to face the biggest burden.

Who is behind the bill?: Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) introduced the bill, and 30 other Republicans support the bill.

Does it have a chance of becoming law?: Eh, not really. Democrats control the Senate and the White House.

The Hill’s Tobias Burns wrote a helpful explainer on the logistics and details of this proposal


Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, wrote in The Atlantic:

“A National Sales Tax Is a Terrible Idea: A handful of House Republicans want to force a vote on it. That’s just a free gift to Democrats.” Read his take

Happy Tuesday! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

📃 Breaking

Omg, can we please host a ‘How To Handle Classified Docs’ seminar for presidents and vice presidents?!:

Documents with classified markings were found at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home last week, officials confirmed Tuesday.”

What we know: “Pence’s team notified the National Archives on Jan. 18 that a small number of documents were ‘inadvertently boxed and transported’ to the former vice president’s home at the end of the last administration. Pence was ‘unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,’ his lawyer wrote to the Archives.”

CNN’s Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb and Evan Perez broke the news. The full CNN report 

🎸 Happening on Capitol Hill 

Some angry Swifties would like an explanation:

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing today on the Ticketmaster debacle for the ticket release of her upcoming tour.

Watch live — it began at 10 a.m. 

Who is testifying?Joe Berchtold, the president and CFO of Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster — and SeatGeek CEO Jack Groetzinger. Full list of witnesses

CNN Business explainer on the Ticketmaster ordeal over Taylor Swift’s tour


From The Hill’s Rebecca Klar

🤞 In Congress 

We’ve heard a lot of DC opinions about George Santos, but what do the voters who elected him think?:

“In interviews with The Washington Post over several days, residents who supported Santos said they both regretted their choice and were resigned to his status as a member of Congress. But the prevailing sentiment, among both Republicans and Democrats, was raw anger and a sense of being cheated.”

Full read from The Washington Post’s Camila DeChalus 

House Democrats rn:

“House Democrats are itching for a fight with the new GOP majority over who should qualify for committee assignments, tapping Reps. Adam Schiff (Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (Calif.) to sit on the Intelligence Committee in the face of Republican vows to keep them off of the powerful panel.”

^ Plus: “A similar collision is likely to play out in a separate arena over Rep. Ilhan Omar, the third-term Minnesota lawmaker who is expected to be named by Democrats this week to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, despite GOP promises to boot her from the panel.”

Why Democrats think they can win this political battle: Democrats are pointing to Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), by name (!), who was appointed to committees despite swirling controversies over fabrications and questions about his finances.

What committees was Santos appointed to?: The House Small Business panel and the Science, Space and Technology Committee

What’s ironic in this process: Committee assignments are traditionally a fairly mundane, uneventful process. But that changed in 2021 when Dems stripped Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) of their committee assignments.

The brewing battle between Dems and the GOP over committee assignments, via The Hill’s Mike Lillis 


Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who is up for reelection in 2024, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “everything’s on the table” when he comes to his next political move.

Why this is big: Senate Democrats are eager for him to commit to running for reelection. It could be difficult to keep that seat blue if Manchin bows out.

In the White House 

Biden is metaphorically retweeting his message:

President Biden called for an assault weapons ban this morning after Monday’s shootings in Half Moon Bay, Calif., that killed seven people.

Biden said in a statement: “Even as we await further details on these shootings, we know the scourge of gun violence across America requires stronger action. I once again urge both chambers of Congress to act quickly and deliver this Assault Weapons Ban to my desk, and take action to keep American communities, schools, workplaces, and homes safe.”

What we know about the Half Moon Bay shootings 

^ Just a few days ago: 10 others were killed and another 10 were injured on Saturday when a gunman opened fire at a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, Calif. What we know about the Monterey Park shooting 


“In the first few weeks of 2023, at least 69 people have been killed in mass shootings across the country, including two shootings within days of each other in California.”

Full story from The New York Times’s J. David Goodman, Amy Harmon and Adeel Hassan

🦠 The COVID-19 numbers

Cases to date: 101.8 million

Death toll: 1,099,866

Current hospitalizations: 17,289

Shots administered: 667 million

Fully vaccinated: 69.1 percent of Americans

CDC data here.

🐥Notable tweets 

I wholeheartedly agree:

Baird’s Michael Antonelli tweeted, “Why does coffee taste better in this kind of mug?” Photo of the mug in question

The tweet has more than 8,000 likes so far, so clearly others agree.

On tap 

The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.

  • 10:15 a.m.: Biden and Harris received a daily briefing.

  • 3 p.m.: Biden hosts Democratic congressional leaders to the White House. Harris also attends.

  • 5:20 p.m.: Biden and Harris host new members of Congress for a reception at the White House.

  • 6:30 p.m.: The House votes. Today’s House agenda 

  • Jan. 26: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Expanding Adult Vaccine Access.” Details and how to RSVP 

  • Jan. 27: The Hill’s Sylvan Lane sits down with Heather Boushey, a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, for a newsmaker event. Details and RSVPs

All times Eastern.

📺What to watch

  • This morning: A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift’s tour. C-SPAN livestream 

  • 1:30 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing. Livestream 

  • 2 p.m.: Senate Republican leaders hold a press conference. Livestream 

  • 2:30 p.m.: Senate Democratic leaders hold a press conference. Livestream 

🥜 In lighter news

Today is National Peanut Butter Day!

Tell me more

CNN Business’s Jackie Wattles writes that “during a recent excursion to the icy plains of Antarctica, an international team of researchers discovered five new meteorites — including one of the largest ever found on the continent.” Photo of the 17-pound meteorite 

And because you made it this far, here’s a pup taking its 15-minute break

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.