Political News

Why White House aides worry about Trump's Mar-a-Lago holiday

Posted November 19, 2017 9:41 a.m. EST

— White House aides are worrying about President Trump's Thanksgiving holiday at Mar-a-Lago. The legislative agenda after tax reform is very much up in the air. And how can Congress work to avoid a government shutdown?

These stories are all part of this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines today.

1) Trump, Twitter and his Mar-a-Lago trip

President Trump will spend Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, his golf resort in Palm Beach, Florida. He has called the property the "winter White House," since he spends many weekends there in the colder months.

But some White House staffers are not looking forward to the President's Mar-a-Lago holiday.

As the New York Times' Michael Shear explains, the trip south doesn't necessarily mean all quiet on the White House front.

"If you talk to White House aides, they will tell you they worry when the President goes down to Mar-a-Lago because he has a lot of time on his hands and he tends to tweet and he tends to sort of rant about things," Shear says. "You'll remember that the tweet about President Obama wiretapping him came during a ... Saturday morning when he was at Mar-a-Lago."

2) Tax reform... then what?

House Republicans are still celebrating passing their tax proposal. The Senate will take up its own version after the Thanksgiving break.

But the question still lingers: What happens after that?

Getting tax reform done by the end of the year will be tight, considering how few legislative days are left on the calendar. Another factor hanging over Washington right now is the legislative confusion about what the priorities will be afterward.

Politico's Eliana Johnson reports the White House and Congress really aren't on the same page.

"I'm really struck by the extent to which there is no agreement between the White House and Congress on what the next agenda item is," Johnson says. "You hear things -- from welfare reform to infrastructure to a DACA fix -- but I think this is the first time in decades that there is no sense in what comes next on Capitol Hill."

3) Working to avoid a government shutdown

While the Hill is honed in on tax reform, there is also that pesky little problem of keeping the government funded. The problem is, time's a ticking. Congress has until December 8 to pass some sort of spending bill or a short-term fix.

Rachael Bade of Politico tells CNN that the major players are aware of the timeline and the shutdown threat.

"The Big Four in Congress ... Speaker Paul Ryan, [Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell in the Senate, the Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, are quietly sort of negotiating a year-end spending deal," Bade reports.

"They are running out of time and they're terribly far apart right now, with Democrats still pushing for a DACA fix and a solution for Dreamers. Republicans are worried that if they increase spending without offsets and do a DACA fix that the far right is going to totally go off the rails."

4) Will Congress reauthorize NSA surveillance programs?

The investigations into Russia's interference in the US election have also focused the Hill's attention on national security and American intelligence gathering. Congress is examining the government's use of surveillance programs.

One, that's up for a big re-authorization fight is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which lets the US government collect intel about foreign agents on American soil.

The Washington Post's Karoun Demirjian explains that it's another ticking clock for Congress as soon as they get back from break.

"They have until the end of the year to reauthorize it, but if they're going to be able to actually do it, they probably have to do it in the budget, so we're talking about a matter of days here at this point to reauthorize what's the NSA's most important surveillance program," Demirjian says. "This could be a major problem if this goes off the books. And right now, the culture that we're in has so many questions about what the government's looking at or not because of this whole Russia claim."

5) Why 2018 may be the year of the woman

It's a question asked every election cycle: Will it be the year of the woman? That phrase reflects what happened back in 1992, when Congress welcomed a variety of new female members. There were many factors for the increase, including the Clarence Thomas conformation hearings and the sudden spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace, which energized women to run and vote.

Fast forward to 2017, and there are similar conversations happening now. As CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson explains, that could affect how 2018 shapes up. She got an early look at what data the Center for American Women in Politics is examining right now.

"As with 2017, there could be a number of firsts in 2018. Arizona and Tennessee could get their first women senators," Henderson says. "There could be a record number of women veterans running for office, particularly in House races where the number of women candidates is almost already double what it was at this point in 2015."