Congress – Michmutters

Trump’s bond with GOP deepens after primary wins, FBI search

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump ‘s pick for governor in the swing state of Wisconsin easily defeated a favorite of the Republican establishment.

In Connecticut, the state that launched the Bush family and its brand of compassionate conservatism, a fiery Senate contender who promoted Trump’s election lies upset the state GOP’s endorsed candidate. Meanwhile in Washington, Republicans ranging from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene defended Trump against an unprecedented FBI search.

And that was just this week.

The rapid developments crystallized the former president’s singular status atop a party he has spent the past seven years breaking down and rebuilding in his image. Facing mounting legal vulnerabilities and considering another presidential run, he needs support from the party to maintain his political career. But, whether they like it or not, many in the party also need Trump, whose endorsement has proven crucial for those seeking to advance to the November ballot..

“For a pretty good stretch, it felt like the Trump movement was losing more ground than it was gaining,” said Georgia Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who is urging his party to move past Trump. But now, he said, Trump is benefiting from “an incredibly swift tail wind.”

The Republican response to the FBI’s search of Trump’s Florida estate this week was an especially stark example of how the party is keeping Trump nearby. Some of the Republicans considering challenges to Trump in a 2024 presidential primary, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, were among those defending him. Even long-established Trump critics like Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan questioned the search, pressing for details about its circumstances.

But even before the FBI showed up at Mar-a-Lago, Trump was gaining momentum in his post-presidential effort to shape the GOP. In all, nearly 180 Trump-endorsed candidates up and down the ballot have won their primaries since May while fewer than 20 have lost.

Only two of the 10 House Republicans who supported Trump’s impeachment after the Jan. 6 insurrection are expected back in Congress next year. Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler, R-Wash., who conceded defeat after her Tuesday primary, it was the latest to fall. Leading Trump antagonist Rep. Liz CheneyR-Wyo., is at risk of joining her next week.

The Trump victories include a clean sweep of statewide primary elections in Arizona last week — including an election denier in the race for the state’s official chief elections. Trump’s allies also prevailed Tuesday across Wisconsin and Connecticut, a state long known for its moderate Republican leanings.

In Wisconsin’s Republican primary for governor, wealthy Trump-backed businessman Tim Michels defeated former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, an establishment favourite. And in Connecticut, Leora Levy, who promoted Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen, emerged to an unexpected victory over a more moderate rival after earning Trump’s official endorsement.

On Monday, just hours after the FBI search, Trump hosted a tele-town hall rally on his behalf. Levy thanked Trump in her acceptance speech, while railing against the FBI’s search for her.

“All of us can tell him how upset and offended and disgusted we were at what happened to him,” she said. “That is un-American. That is what they do in Cuba, in China, in dictatorships. And that will stop.”

Despite his recent dominance, Trump — and the Republicans close to him — face political and legal threats that could undermine their momentum as the GOP fights for control of Congress and statehouses across the nation this fall.

While Trump’s picks have notched notable victories in primaries this summer, they may struggle in the fall. That’s especially true in several governor’s races in Democratic-leaning states such as Connecticut and Maryland, where GOP candidates must track to the center to win a general election.

Meanwhile, several Republicans with White House ambitions are moving forward with a busy travel schedule that will take them to politically important states where they can back candidates on the ballot this year and build relationships heading into 2024.

DeSantis plans to boost high-profile Republican contenders across Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Former Vice President Mike Penceanother potential 2024 presidential contender, is scheduled to appear next week in New Hampshire.

On the legal front, the FBI search was part of an investigation into whether the former president took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence. While Republicans have rallied behind Trump, very few facts about the case have been released publicly. Trump’s attorneys have so far declined to release details from the search warrant.

Prosecutors in Washington and Georgia are also investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election he falsely claimed was stolen. The Jan. 6 congressional commission has exposed damning details about Trump’s behavior from Republican witnesses in recent hearings, which have prompted new concerns, at least privately, among the GOP establishment and donor class.

And on Wednesday, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination as he testified under oath Wednesday in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his business dealings.

Trump’s legal entanglements represent a distraction at best for Republican candidates who’d rather focus on President Joe Biden’s leadership, sky-high inflation and immigration troubles to help court moderate voters and independents in the general election.

“Today, every Republican in every state in this country should be talking about how bad Joe Biden is, how bad inflation is, how difficult it is to run a business and run a household,” said Duncan, the Georgia lieutenant governor. “But instead, we’re talking about some investigation, we’re talking about Donald Trump pleading the Fifth, we’re talking about Donald Trump endorsing some conspiracy theorist.”

Trump critics in both parties are ready and willing to highlight Trump’s shortcomings — and his relationship with midterm candidates — as more voters begin to pay attention to politics this fall.

“This is, and always has been, Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said in an interview, condemning “MAGA Republicans” and their “extreme agenda” on abortion and other issues.

At the same time, the Republican Accountability Project and Protect Democracy launched a $3 million television and digital advertising campaign this week across seven swing states focused on Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. The ads, which will run in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, feature testimonials from Republican voters who condemn Trump’s lies about nonexistent election fraud that fueled the Capitol attack.

One ad features congressional testimony from Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who has publicly declared that Trump should never hold public office again.

Still, Cheney faces her own primary election against a Trump-backed challenger next week in Wyoming. One of Trump’s top political targets this year, she is expected to lose. Anticipating a loss, Cheney’s allies suggest she may be better positioned to run for president in 2024, either as a Republican or independent.

Trump’s allies are supremely confident about his ability to win the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2024. In fact, aides who had initially pushed him to launch his campaign after the November midterms are now encouraging him to announce sooner to help freeze out would-be Republican challengers .

“It’s going to be very difficult for anyone to take the nomination away from him in 2024,” said Stephen Moore, a former Trump economic adviser who has spoken with Trump about his 2024 intentions. “He is running. That is a certainty.”

Rep. Tom Rice, RS.C., predicted that Trump would “lose in a landslide” if he sought the presidency again, adding that the former president’s overall grasp on the party is “eroding on the edges.”

“In a normal election, you’ve got to win not just the base. You’ve got to win the middle, too, right, and maybe crossover on the other side,” said Rice, who lost his recent primary after voting in favor of Trump’s second impeachment.

Rice warned that Trump far-right candidates could lead to unnecessary losses for the party in November. “Donald Trump is pushing things so far to the right,” he said in an interview.

Meanwhile, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, eyeing a 2024 bid himself, warned against making bold political predictions two years before the Republican Party selects its next presidential nominee.

“We’re sitting here in August of 2022,” Christie said in an interview. “My sense is there’s a lot of water over the dam still to come before anybody can determine anybody’s individual position in the primaries of ’24 — except to say that if Donald Trump runs, he will certainly be a factor.”


Associated Press writers Susan Haigh in Hartford, Connecticut, and Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.



Trump ties may come back to haunt in swing state Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Donald Trump reasserted his grip on Republicans in Wisconsin’s primary, but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers tried to play that against his newly minted Republican opponent Wednesday while observers said running too closely to Trump in the swing state could be dangerous.

Trump’s pick for governor, construction company co-owner Tim Michels, beat out the choice of establishment Republicans. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said that means Michels now “owns” Trump and he won’t be able to moderate in the general election.

“His relationship with Trump is going to drive this campaign,” Evers told reporters after eating breakfast with his running mate, state Rep. Sarah Rodriguez. “Trump owns him, he owns Trump. That’s his problem with him, that’s not mine.

Michels sought to tie Evers to President Joe Biden, releasing a new TV ad the day after his win that calls them “both career politicians in way over their head.” The ad does not mention Trump’s endorsement of Michels.

Michels’ campaign adviser Chris Walker said in a statement that Evers and Biden “are going to desperately attempt to do everything they can to distract the people of Wisconsin from their massive failures.”

Michels, in his victory speech, touted himself as the voice for a working class that he said has been left behind by Democrats. Evers mocked that message, noting that Michels owns a $17 million estate in Connecticut.

“He can wear a blue shirt so that he can have a blue collar, but at the end of the day I’m not quite sure that someone of his status with houses all over the country can say ‘I’m just one of you ,’” Evers said.

Like Trump, Michels has cast himself as an outsider. Evers dismissed that too, calling it “one of the biggest jokes of this campaign.” He cited Michels’ work of him serving on the boards of powerful lobbying groups, including the state chamber of commerce.

Trump narrowly won the state in 2016 and lost by a similar margin in 2020. A Marquette University Law School poll released in May showed Trump’s favorability rating in the state at 35%, with 61% having an unfavorable opinion.

In addition to supporting Michels, Trump is a strong supporter of the Republican US Sen. Ron Johnson, who faces Mandela Barnes, the current lieutenant governor.

“Trump cuts both ways,” Republican strategist Brandon Scholz said. “While he drives his base and supporters in the primary, will that help in the general because he turns off as many people as he turns on? … I don’t think we know yet.”

Michels would be smart to focus on Biden, Evers and the issues such as inflation, crime and the economy, not Trump, said Republican strategist Mark Graul.

Evers pointed to recent polls to argue that Michels is out of step with a majority of Wisconsin residents on key issues like abortion rights and the outcome of the 2020 election won by Biden. Trump has continued to push for decertification, which attorneys from both sides and legal experts have discounted as an unconstitutional impossibility.

Michels has been inconsistent on decertification, but he does want to dismantle the bipartisan elections commission and sign bills Evers vetoed that would make it harder to vote absentee.

Trump is popular with many because he is perceived to be a fighter, but Michels needs to spread that message, said Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. I have endorsed former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch in the primary and was targeted for defeat by Trump.

“If he is a perceived to be a fighter who gets things done, I think that will be a much more appealing general election message,” Vos said of Michels.

Michels’ win over Kleefisch, who was endorsed by Mike Pence and represented a continuation of former Gov. Scott Walker’s legacy, was the clearest victory for a Trump-backed candidate in Wisconsin. But every candidate who ran in support of decertifying Biden’s 2020 victory lost. That included the Trump-backed challenger to Vos, candidates for attorney general and secretary of state and legislative candidates seeking to unseat Republican incumbentsincluding one taking on Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu.

In the days before the election, Vos challenger Adam Steen was joined on the campaign trail by the investigator Vos hired under pressure from Trump to look into the 2020 election. That investigator, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, also appeared at the Trump rally.

A triumphant Vos declared his 260-vote win shows “you don’t have to be a lapdog to whatever Donald Trump says.” You called a meeting of Assembly Republicans for Tuesday to discuss the future of Gableman’s contract, which has cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million and remains subject to five pending lawsuits.

Evers said Vos must fire Gableman or “I’m fearful we’re going to be talking about this election for the next 20 years.”



AP FACT CHECK: GOP skews budget bill’s impact on IRS, taxes

Republican politicians and candidates are distorting how a major economic bill passed over the weekend by the Senate would reform the IRS and affect taxes for the middle class.

The “Inflation Reduction Act,” which awaits a House vote after passing in the Senate on Sunday, it would increase the ranks of the IRS, but it would not create a mob of armed auditors looking to harass middle-class taxpayers, as some Republicans are claiming.

While experts say corporate tax increases could indirectly burden people in the middle class, claims that they will face higher taxes are not supported by what is in the legislation.

A look at some of the claims about the package that emerged from a deal negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va.:

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-CALIF.: “Do you make $75,000 or less? Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming for you — with 710,000 new audits for Americans who earn less than $75k.” – Tuesday tweet.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: “The Manchin-Schumer bill will create 87,000 new IRS agents to target regular, everyday Americans.” —Friday tweet.

THE FACTS: That’s misleading. Last year, before the bill emerged, the Treasury Department had proposed a plan to hire roughly that many IRS employees over the next decade if it got the money. The IRS will be releasing final numbers for its hiring plans in the coming months, according to a Treasury official. But those employees will not all be hired at the same time, they will not all be auditors and many will be replacing employees who are expected to quit or retire, experts and officials say.

The IRS currently has about 80,000 employees, including clerical workers, customer service representatives, enforcement officials, and others. The agency has lost roughly 50,000 employees over the past five years due to attrition, according to the IRS. More than half of IRS employees who work in enforcement are currently eligible for retirement, said Natasha Sarin, the Treasury Department’s counselor for tax policy and implementation.

Budget cuts, mostly demanded by Republicans, have also diminished the ranks of enforcement staff, which fell roughly 30% since 2010 despite the fact that the filing population has increased. The IRS-related money in the Inflation Reduction Act is intended to boost efforts against high-end tax evasion, Sarin said.

youtube video thumbnail

The nearly $80 billion for the IRS in the bill will also pay for other improvements, such as revamping the agency’s technology, said Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center and former Treasury official.

The Treasury says it will hire experienced auditors and workers who will improve taxpayer services, and that audit rates for those earning less than $400,000 are not expected to rise in relation to historical norms.

So that’s a long way from hiring 87,000 “agents” to go after average people in the United States, as the GOP claims have it. In any case, the bill has not mandated to hire that many people.


REP. TROY NEHLS, R-TEXAS: “Americans asked for lower inflation and the Democrats gave us an armed IRS shadow army to spy on your bank accounts.” —Sunday tweet.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE. R-Ga.: “It’s going to hire 87,000 new IRS agents and it’s going to arm — as in guns, you know, Democrats are always upset about guns — 70,000 of these IRS agents.” — at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in an interview with the conservative Canadian news magazine The Post Millennial.

THE FACTS: That’s false. The bill will not create any such army, officials and experts say. Only some IRS employees who work on criminal investigations carry firearms as part of their work.

A division of the IRS called criminal investigation serves as the agency’s law enforcement branch. Its agents, who work on issues such as seizing illicit crypto currency and Russian oligarchs’ assets, carry weapons, Sarin said.

There were just more than 2,000 such special agents working at the IRS in 2021, according to agency documents. The branch will get money from the Inflation Reduction Act, but the bulk of the dollars will go toward other areas, according to Sarin.

The bill does not designate money specifically for a large number of armed IRS employees.


NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE ADAM LAXALT, criticizing his opponent, Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto: “.@CortezMasto just voted to raise taxes for Nevadans making as low as $30k/year.” —Sunday tweet.

THE FACTS: Nothing in the bill raises taxes on people earning less than $400,000, contrary to Laxalt’s claims. There are no individual tax rate increases for anyone in the bill, experts say.

It’s possible, though, that the bill’s new corporate taxes, including a minimum 15% tax for large corporations, could cause indirect economic impacts. A report from the Joint Committee on Taxation said some people who make less than $400,000 might see such impacts.

“Economists are generally in agreement that the corporate income tax is borne not just by the businesses, but also by shareholders and by workers,” Holtzblatt said. “So that tax that gets imposed on the corporation, some of that might end up getting shifted to workers in the form of lower wages.”

Added Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation: “Distinguishing between whether lower after-tax incomes happen because of a direct tax hike or indirect incidence may be a distinction without a difference for many households.”

However, supporters of the bill did not vote for tax increases on people earning $30,000, as Laxalt claimed.


Associated Press writer Karena Phan in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


EDITOR’S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.


Find AP Fact Checks at

Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter:



The House GOP’s Plan to Troll Biden With Investigations Is a ‘Sh*tshow on Steroids’

Even before federal agents stepped onto the grounds of Mar-a-Lago on Monday, Republicans in Congress were eagerly preparing their plans to investigate President Joe Biden and his administration ahead of an expected takeover of Capitol Hill after November’s elections.

But the FBI raid on Donald Trump’s south Florida estate—reportedly to execute search warrants related to official document preservation—immediately turned investigations from a top priority into the potential main event of a Republican-controlled Congress next year.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)—the presumptive House speaker if Republicans pull off a takeover from the chamber—did not wait for more details to emerge about the raid before calling for Attorney General Merrick Garland to appear for testimony next year.

“When Republicans take over the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned,” McCarthy said on Monday night. “Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”

The Department of Justice, which is weighing whether to criminally prosecute the former president, was always going to be in the “crosshairs of oversight” for the GOP, said Aaron Cutler, a former House Republican staff attorney who now heads up congressional investigations work for the law firm Hogan Lovells.

But the FBI raid on Monday, and the lack of public knowledge about the extraordinary move, has “really infuriated” the GOP, said Cutler. “It makes Republicans want to dig in even more to the administration,” he said.

That enthusiastic digging isn’t poised to simply stop at the doors of the DOJ. Over the last year, GOP lawmakers in both the House and Senate have publicly outlined dozens of areas where they want to investigate the Biden administration.

Some of those areas are straightforward and could even invite some bipartisan cooperation. Republicans want to dig into the disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan last year and the often confusing COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; some Democrats could come on board for those investigations.

But with the GOP mum so far on their legislative agenda, what seems to most excite Republicans right now about a Capitol Hill takeover is something else: investigations primarily designed to hit Biden where it hurts—and damage his political prospects ahead of the 2024 election.

Before Biden even took office, GOP lawmakers began to lay the groundwork for extensive probes into the business dealings of the president’s son, Hunter, and have vowed to investigate another investigation: the one being conducted by the House select committee on Jan. 6th.

Republican rank-and-file members, meanwhile, have publicly called for impeaching Biden, along with Garland and other cabinet secretaries like Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas.

“What we’re seeing from what they’re saying is nothing about a legislative agenda if they’re in the majority,” said Norman Ornstein, a senior fellow emeritus at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute think tank. “The whole theme here is retribution against people in the Biden administration, ranging all the way from Merrick Garland to Anthony Fauci.”

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) had another description for the prospect of a GOP exercising majority oversight powers. “It’d be a shitshow on steroids,” he told The Daily Beast.

Gaming out GOP oversight plans is hardly an academic exercise or an entertaining of far-fetched hypotheticals. Given historical trends, redistricting, and Biden’s low approval ratings, Republicans are widely expected to easily capture control of the House; control of the Senate is more of a toss-up.

Republicans need to flip only one chamber, however, to gain access to the committee gavels—and with them, a massive infusion in resources to hire attorneys and investigators—in order to begin creating everyday headaches for the Biden administration.

They could do so on a number of fronts. Investigations into Biden’s family would be the most politically sensitive and the most partisan; a close second would be probes into how Biden and congressional Democrats have themselves probed the abuses of the Trump presidency and Jan. 6.

Beyond that, Republicans are most eager to probe the Afghanistan withdrawal, COVID-19 public health policies, the origins of the virus, and the Department of Homeland Security’s handling of migration at the US-Mexico border.

Among the rank-and-file, there’s serious appetite for using their congressional powers to indulge an investigation into Trump’s obsession—the 2020 election—which leaders have yet to endorse.

The last time Republicans could investigate a Democratic administration, they followed the lead of their base—a move that has only aged more poorly over time. From 2014 to 2016, House Republicans established a committee to investigate the terrorist attack at the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

There were legitimate questions to be answered about the government failures that led to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. But GOP leaders—McCarthy in particular—ended up admitting the probe existed simply to harm Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in 2016.

Some Republicans acknowledge there’s a risk of going too far again. “I don’t think leadership wants to see Hunter Biden alone on a witness panel getting beaten up for hours on end,” said Cutler. “The Benghazi example, I think folks would understand that’s not really what the American public wants to see.”

Cutler argued McCarthy would “ensure the conference is measured and doesn’t send out subpoenas willy-nilly” if they control the gavels next year. Democrats, in the eyes of many Republicans, went too far in their oversight of the Trump administration.

They outlined dozens of possible investigations before taking the House in 2018; within six months of controlling the chamber, 14 House committees had launched at least 50 probes into the Trump administration, according to NBC News.

Though top Republicans have used their oversight plans primarily as a way to toss out red meat to the GOP base, they have also at least signaled they want to pursue sober, bread-and-butter issues.

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), in line to be the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, promised to POLITICO to bring the panel “back to what its original intent was.”

“We’re going to spend a lot of time in the first three, four months having investigation hearings,” Comer said, “and then we’re going to be very active in the subcommittee process, focused on substantive waste, fraud and abuse type issues.”

Spokespeople for Comer, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)—who’s in line to be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee—did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast on their oversight plans.

It’s fair to say Democrats are not expecting serious-minded oversight next year. Ornstein argued that any suggestion that Democrats’ oversight of the Trump administration—“the most scandal-ridden in the history of the country”—is not remotely comparable to what Republicans are outlining now.

With Republicans seeking to even score and put political points on the board against Biden, Ornstein said even legitimate oversight avenues like Afghanistan or COVID-19 policies could be tainted. “I don’t hold out a lot of hope that we would have legit oversight,” he said.

The White House has reportedly already begun laying the groundwork to respond to a flood of GOP requests and oversight demands, by beefing up staffing at the counsel’s office and talking about restructuring offices to better counter their adversaries on Capitol Hill should they take over.

Congressional Democrats, who are still fighting to keep control of both the House and Senate, are loath to publicly game out how they would approach the role of the minority—and are incorporating the GOP’s chest-thumping on oversight into their case to voters.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), chair of the House Oversight Committee, told The Daily Beast that Republicans on the panel “have made it clear they are more interested in promoting former President Trump’s extreme agenda, including spreading election conspiracy theories and launching political attacks on President Biden and members of his family.”

“I’m proud of the Committee’s strong track record this Congress,” Maloney said, “and I believe the American people see that Democrats are working to make their lives better while our colleagues on the other side are focused on scoring political points.”

Huffman argued Democrats “should not spend any time developing a game plan for dealing with them being in the majority.”

“We should be putting all of our efforts into delivering for the American people and making our case to voters as to why these guys are unfit to govern,” Huffman said.

Democrats have happily seized on comments that Republicans have made in response to the raid on Mar-a-Lago—like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s call to “defund” the FBI—to bolster that case.

Greene’s comments foreshadow a broader problem for McCarthy and his GOP lieutenants as they close in on the House majority: can they remain in the driver’s seat on sensitive investigations, or will they simply be along for the ride?

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a frequent critic of McCarthy, suggested last December that the days of Benghazi would look quaint by comparison to what he and his allies had planned for Biden.

“It’s not going to be the days of Paul Ryan and Trey Gowdy and no real oversight and no real subpoenas,” Gaetz said. “It’s going to be the days of Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Dr. Gosar and myself.”



Inflation Reduction Act extends $7,500 tax credit for electric cars

David Madison | Photodisc | Getty Images

A federal tax break that’s available to car buyers for going electric may work differently starting next year.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act — which received Senate approval on Sunday and is expected to clear the House this week — a tax credit worth up to $7,500 for buyers of new all-electric cars and hybrid plug-ins would be extended through 2032. The bill would also create a separate tax credit worth a maximum $4,000 for used versions of these vehicles.

Yet the measure would also usher in new limits to both who can qualify for the credit and which vehicles are eligible for it.

The tax credit has ‘price and income restrictions’

“First, in order to qualify, there are price and income restrictions,” said Seth Goldstein, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar.

For new vehicles, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for sedans would need to be below $55,000 to be eligible for the tax credit. For SUVs, trucks and vans, that price cap would be $80,000.

Additionally, the credit would be unavailable to single tax filers with modified adjusted gross income above $150,000. For married couples filing jointly, that income limit would be $300,000, and for individuals who file as head of household, $225,000.

“What we’ve seen is that many [electric vehicles] are luxury cars,” Goldstein said. “And buyers of those are in higher income brackets, so that limits right away the ability to qualify for the tax credit.”

For used electric vehicles to qualify, the car would need to be at least two model years old, among other restrictions. The credit would be worth either $4,000 or 30% of the car’s price — whichever is less — and the price cap would be $25,000.

Those purchases also would come with income caps: Individual tax filers with income above $75,000 would be ineligible for the credit. That cap would be $150,000 for joint filers and $112,500 for heads of household.

More from Personal Finance:
How to know if you’re affected by Equifax credit score errors
30 companies that help employees pay off their student loans
Climate change is making some homes too costly to insure

Another determining factor for whether a vehicle would qualify for a full or partial credit (or neither) include a requirement that the final assembly of the car would need to be in North America. Additional qualifiers include limitations on where key materials for batteries can come from and a mandate that a specified portion of battery components must be manufactured or assembled in North America.

“It’s designed to encourage domestic production in North America,” said Scott Cockerham, an attorney and partner at Orrick.

Many electric vehicles may not qualify for the credit

However, it could be difficult for cars to qualify, he said, depending on where they source their materials and where they complete the manufacturing process. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation has warned that many electric vehicles will be ineligible for the credit right off the bat.

Additionally, another change in the legislation would allow a car buyer who qualifies for the tax credit to transfer it to the dealership, which could then lower the price of the car.

Meanwhile, another modification included in the bill is good news for some electric vehicle manufacturers.

Basically, the existing $7,500 credit was authorized in 2008 and 2009 legislation with the intention of spurring adoption of electric cars. Part of that included a phase-out of the tax credit once a manufacturer reached 200,000 of the vehicles sold.

Tesla hit that threshold in 2018, which means their electric cars currently do not qualify for the tax credit. General Motors is in the same position. Toyota (including its Lexus brand) also has now crossed that threshold, and its electric cars are scheduled to be ineligible for the tax credit after a phaseout of it ends in September 2023.

The congressional measure would eliminate that 200,000 sales cap, making their electric cars again eligible for the credit — at least based on that sales-threshold removal.



Rep. Scott Perry says FBI agents seized his cellphone

WASHINGTON (AP) — US Rep. Scott Perry said his cellphone was seized Tuesday morning by FBI agents carrying a search warrant.

The circumstances surrounding the seizure were not immediately known. Perry, though, has been a figure in the congressional investigation into President Donald Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.

Former senior Justice Department officials have testified that Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, had “an important role” in Trump’s effort to try to install Jeffrey Clark — a top Justice official who was pushing Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud — as the acting attorney general.

In a statement Tuesday, Perry said three agents visited him while he was traveling Tuesday with his family and “seized my cell phone.” He called the action “banana republic tactics.”

“They made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish,” Perry said. “I’m outraged – though not surprised – that the FBI under the direction of Merrick Garland’s DOJ, would seize the phone of a sitting Member of Congress.”

The lawmaker, representing Pennsylvania’s 10th District, was cited more than 50 times in a Senate Judiciary report released in October 2021 outlining how Trump’s effort to overturn his election defeat Joe Biden brought the Justice Department to the brink of chaos and prompted top officials there and at the White House to threaten to resign.

Perry, who has continuously disputed the validity of Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, has said he obliged Trump’s request for an introduction to Clark, then an assistant attorney general whom Perry knew from unrelated legislative matters. The three men went on to discuss their shared concerns about the election, Perry has said.

The Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud in Pennsylvania or any other state, and senior Justice officials dismissed Perry’s claims.

The Senate report outlined a call Perry made to then-acting Deputy Attorney General Rich Donoghue in December 2020 to say the department wasn’t doing its job with respect to the elections. Perry encouraged Donoghue to elicit Clark’s help because he’s “the kind of guy who could really get in there and do something about this,” the report said.

Perry has said his “official communications” with Justice Department officials were consistent with the law.

The Justice Department’s inspector general conducted a search in June of Clark’s Virginia home.

Perry slammed the Justice Department’s decision to serve him with a warrant as an “unnecessary and aggressive action.”

“My phone contains info about my legislative and political activities, and personal/private discussions with my wife, family, constituents, and friends,” Perry said. None of this is the government’s business.”

The seizure of Scott’s cellphone was first reported by Fox News Channel.



Inflation Reduction Act limits pass-through tax break for 2 more years

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., discusses the Inflation Reduction Act on Aug. 7, 2022 in Washington, DC

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Senate Democrats curtailed a tax break for certain pass-through businesses as part of the Inflation Reduction Act passed Sunday.

A pass-through or flow-through business is one that reports its income on the tax returns of its owners. That income is taxed at their individual income tax rates. Examples of pass-throughs include sole proprietorships, some limited liability companies, partnerships and S-corporations.

Democrats’ legislation — a package of health-care, tax and historic climate-related measures — limits the ability of pass-throughs to use big paper losses to write off costs like salaries and interest, according to tax experts.

More from Personal Finance:
How carried interest works and how it benefits high-income taxpayers
Inflation Reduction Act aims to trim insulin costs for Medicare users
Reconciliation bill includes nearly $80 billion for IRS

That limit — called the Limitation on Excess Business Losses — is currently already in place. It was scheduled to end starting in 2027, but the new bill would extend the restriction for an additional two years. That extension wasn’t in Senate Democrats’ initial version of the legislation, but it was added during the subsequent negotiation and amendment process.

The Inflation Reduction Act passed along party lines and now heads to the House.

Wealthy real estate owners likely impacted most

Republicans originally enacted the pass-through limitation in the 2017 tax law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Specifically, the law disallowed pass-through owners from using business losses exceeding $250,000 to offset non-business income. That dollar threshold is for single taxpayers; the law set a $500,000 cap for a married couple filing a joint tax return.

Those caps are higher in 2022 due to an inflation adjustment: $270,000 and $540,000, respectively.

“The business losses can only offset other business income, not salaries and interest and investment gains,” Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said of the measure.

The provisions hurt “rich guys” who were using business losses to take tax write-offs against bonuses, salaries and investment income, for example, said Rosenthal.

The limitations can theoretically apply to any pass-through business that runs up a big operating loss each year. But real estate businesses — which can use rules around depreciation to consistently rack up big losses on paper — are likely among the most affected categories, according to Jeffrey Levine, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant based in St. Louis.

It’s a really big deal for uber-wealthy people with a ton of real estate.

Jeffrey Levine

chief planning officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners

“It’s a really big deal for uber-wealthy people with a ton of real estate, and then the occasional business that loses a ton of money every year,” said Levine, who is also chief planning officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners.

The limitation for pass-throughs was initially scheduled to expire after 2025, along with the other provisions of the Republican tax law that affected individual taxpayers.

However, Democrats extended the limit for an additional year in the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law in 2021. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that that one-year extension would raise about $31 billion.

The Inflation Reduction Act’s additional extension would presumably raise a roughly similar amount of money each year, Rosenthal said.

However, the business losses don’t necessarily disappear forever. Owners may be able to defer the tax benefits to future years, if Congress doesn’t extend the limitation again.

“The losses almost always get claimed later,” Rosenthal said.



Wisconsin primary may shape elections in key battleground

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Voters will choose a Republican nominee for Wisconsin governor on Tuesday who could reshape how elections are conducted in the marquee battleground, where former President Donald Trump is still pressing to overturn his 2020 loss and backing candidates he sees as allies.

Trump has endorsed businessman Tim Michels, a self-described outsider who has put $12 million into his own campaign, against former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who has supported former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-Gov. Scott Walker. Both candidates falsely claim the 2020 election was rigged, though Kleefisch has said decertifying the results is “not constitutional,” while Michels said “everything will be on the table.”

The race to face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is another proxy war between Trump and Pence, one-time partners now pursuing different futures for the Republican Party. They also backed opposing GOP rivals in primaries in Arizona and Georgia — swing states that like Wisconsin are expected to be critical in the 2024 presidential race, when both men could be on the ballot.

The primary comes a day after FBI agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

In the state’s Senate race, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is the likely Democratic nominee to face Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, after Barnes’ top rivals dropped out of the race late last month. The matchup is among the last to be set before the November general election, when control of the currently 50-50 split Senate is up for grabs, and Democrats see Wisconsin as one of their best opportunities to flip a seat.

Trump also has backed a little-known challenger to the state’s most powerful Republican, state Assembly Speaker Robin Voswho has rejected the former president’s pressure to decertify the 2020 results.

Tuesday’s outcomes have far-reaching consequences beyond Wisconsin, a state that is almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and where 2022 will be seen as a bellwether for the 2024 presidential race. The person elected governor this fall will be in office for the presidential election and will be able to sign or veto changes to election laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The next governor and US senator also may sway decisions on issues from abortion to education and taxes.

“We’re a 50-50 state and so every race in Wisconsin, just by definition, is going to be decided by a few percentage points one way or another,” said former Gov. Jim Doyle, to Democrat. “And those few percentage points in Wisconsin may well determine what the course of the nation is in the coming years.”

Elsewhere on WednesdayMinnesota Republicans are expected to choose Dr. Scott Jensen, a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic endorsed by the state GOP, to face Gov. Tim Walz. Vermont — the only state to never have a woman in its congressional delegation — is likely to nominate a woman for the state’s lone House seat. The winner will replace Rep. Peter Welch, who is vying for the seat held for over four decades by Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is retiring. And in Connecticut, Republicans will pick opponents to face two-term Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

But the most-watched races will be in Wisconsin, where Trump has kept up his pressure campaign to cancel President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. Biden won by nearly 21,000 votes, four years after Trump also narrowly won the state by roughly the same margin. The 2020 outcome has been upheld in two partial recounts, a nonpartisan audit, a review by a conservative law firm and multiple lawsuits.

Both Michels and Kleefisch have said overturning the 2020 election results is not a priority. But they have said they would dismantle the bipartisan commission that runs Wisconsin elections and would support prohibitions on voters having someone else turn in their absentee ballots, as well as ballot drop boxes located anywhere other than staffed clerk offices.

Evers has made voting and elections a focus of his own campaign, telling voters he’s the only candidate who will defend democracy and “we are that close to not having our vote count in the state of Wisconsin.”

Kleefisch is a former TV reporter who served with Walker for two terms, including when he effectively ended collective bargaining for most public employees in the state in 2011, drawing huge protests and a failed recall attempt. She says she is the best prepared to win statewide in November and to enact conservative priorities, including investing more in police, expanding school choice programs and implementing a flat income tax.

During a campaign stop with Kleefisch last week, Pence said no other gubernatorial candidate in the US is “more capable, more experienced, or a more proven conservative.”

Michels is co-owner of Wisconsin’s largest construction company and has touted his work to build his family’s business. He lost the 2004 Senate race to Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, and has been a major donor to GOP politicians.

At a rally on Friday, Trump praised Michels as an “incredible success story.” I have criticized Kleefisch as part of the “failed establishment” and also took aim at Vos. He told supporters that Michels will win the primary “easily” and that he’s the better choice to defeat Evers.

Michels pledged that “we are going to have election integrity here in Wisconsin.” He also said he will bring “law and order” back to Wisconsin, criticized Evers’ handling of schools and blamed Biden for rising prices.

GOP state Rep. Tim Ramthun is also making a long-shot bid for governor, and has made rescinding Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes for Biden the centerpiece of his campaign.

In the Senate race, Barnes is the overwhelming favorite after rivals including Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry quit the race. A Milwaukee native and former state legislator who would be Wisconsin’s first Black senator, Barnes says he wants to help rebuild the middle class and protect abortion rights. A state ban on abortion took effect after the US Supreme Court in June overturned the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The race against Johnson is one of a few Senate toss-ups and has already been a fight between Barnes and Johnson, a millionaire and former owner of a plastics company who was first elected as part of the tea party movement in 2010.

Barnes has attacked Johnson for supporting a tax bill that benefitted wealthy donors and his own company, touting “wild conspiracy theories” about COVID-19 vaccines and for trying to deliver ballots from fake GOP voters to Pence on the day of the Capitol insurrection.

Johnson and Republicans have criticized Barnes as too liberal for Wisconsin, noting his endorsements from progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. They have resurfaced moments from Barnes’ past of him, including a photo of him holding a T-shirt that reads “Abolish ICE,” or US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Trump and Pence have split on gubernatorial candidates with mixed results. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp — he also rejected Trump’s pressure to overturn his 2020 loss — had Pence’s support as he defeated a Trump-endorsed challenger, former US Sen. David Perdue. But Kari Lake won the Arizona primary last week with Trump’s backing, defeating a Pence-backed candidate after saying she would not have certified Biden’s victory there.

The candidate Trump endorsed to take on Vos, Adam Steen, has said he would decertify Biden’s victory.


Burnett reported from Chicago.



Biden says he’s ‘not worried’ about China’s increased aggression toward Taiwan following Pelosi visit

US President Joe Biden talks to reporters while boarding Air Force One on travel to Eastern Kentucky to visit families affected by devastation from recent flooding, as he departs from Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, US, August 8, 2022.

Kevin Lamarques | Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Monday he is “not worried” about China’s military exercises around Taiwan, adding that while he is “concerned that they’re moving as much as they are,” he does not think they’re going to continue to increase the pressure.

The remarks came one day after Beijing concluded 72 hours of intense maneuvers and missile tests over and around Taiwan. The exercises involved dozens of Chinese fighter jets and warships to mimic a military blockade of the self-governing island that Beijing considers a province.

Biden’s relative calm reflected the deliberate American strategy of not responding to Chinese bellicosity with equally hot saber-rattling.

It also reflects a broader opinion within the Biden administration that Beijing does not intend to make good on its implicit threat to invade Taiwan, at least not in the near term.

Given this assessment, the United States has adopted an approach, for now, of heightened vigilance, but steadfastly refused to be drawn into a military game of chicken in the Pacific.

Last Thursday, the White House announced that Biden would keep a US naval aircraft carrier strike group in the South China Sea longer than originally planned, in response to Beijing’s increased aggression toward Taiwan.

At the same time, a Biden spokesman said the United States would postpone a previously scheduled intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, test.

The decisions signaled Washington’s desire to maintain American military alertness in the region, while also denying Beijing the opportunity to point to the long-planned US missile test as evidence that America was responding to China’s own missile launches near Taiwan with military preparations of its own.

Beijing claimed its military exercises were conducted in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week.

The visit by the California Democrat, which the Biden White House publicly defended but privately opposed, marked the first time in 25 years that an American House speaker, a position second in line to the presidency, had visited Taiwan.

Asked Monday whether it was wise for Pelosi to have traveled to Taiwan given the tense US-China relationship, Biden gave the standard response his administration has used for weeks.

“That was her decision,” he said, before boarding Air Force One en route to Kentucky, where Biden and first lady Jill Biden will visit communities impacted by catastrophic flooding last week.

CNBC Politics

Read more of CNBC’s political coverage:



What to watch in Wis., 3 other states in Tuesday’s primaries

The Republican matchup in the Wisconsin governor’s race on Tuesday features competing candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump and his estranged vice president, Mike Pence. Democrats are picking a candidate to face two-term GOP Sen. Ron Johnson for control of the closely divided chamber.

Meanwhile, voters in Vermont are choosing a replacement for US Sen. patrick leahy as the chamber’s longest-serving member retires. In Minnesota, US Rep. Ilhan Omar faces a Democratic primary challenger who helped defeat a voter referendum to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety.

What to watch in Tuesday’s primary elections in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont and Connecticut:


Construction company co-owner Tim Michels has Trump’s endorsement in the governor’s race and has been spending millions of his own money, touting both the former president’s backing and his years working to build his family’s business into Wisconsin’s largest construction company. Michels casts himself as an outsider, although he previously lost a campaign to oust then-US Sen. Russ Feingold in 2004 and has long been a prominent GOP donor.

Establishment Republicans including Pence and former Gov. Scott Walker have endorsed former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefischwho along with Walker, survived a 2012 recall effort. She argues she has the experience and knowledge to pursue conservative priorities, including dismantling the bipartisan commission that runs elections.

With Senate control at stake, Democrats will also make their pick to take on Johnson. Democratic support coalesced around Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes beats in the race, when his three top rivals dropped out and threw their support to him. He would become the state’s first Black senator if elected.

Several lesser-known candidates remain in the primary, but Johnson and Republicans have treated Barnes as the nominee, casting him as too liberal for Wisconsin, a state Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020.

Four Democrats are also running in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, a seat that opened up with the retirement of veteran Democratic US Rep. Ron Kind. The district has been trending Republican, and Derrick Van Orden — who narrowly lost to Kind in 2020 and has Trump’s endorsement — is running unopposed.


Democratic Gov. Tim Walz faces a little-known opponent as he seeks a second term. His likely challenger is Republican Scott Jensena physician and former state lawmaker who has made vaccine skepticism a centerpiece of his campaign and faces token opposition.

Both men have been waging a virtual campaign for months, with Jensen attacking Walz for his management of the pandemic and hammering the governor for rising crime around Minneapolis. Walz has highlighted his own support of abortion rights and suggested that Jensen would be a threat to chip away at the procedure’s legality in Minnesota.

Crime has emerged as the biggest issue in Rep. Omar’s Democratic primary. She faces a challenge from former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels, who opposes the movement to defund the police and last year helped defeat efforts to replace the city’s police department. Omar, who supported the referendum, has a substantial money advantage and is expected to benefit from a strong grassroots operation.

The most confusing part of Tuesday’s ballot was for the 1st Congressional District seat that was held by US Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died earlier this year from cancer. Republican former state Rep. Brad Finstad and Democrat Jeff Ettinger, a former Hormel CEO, are simultaneously competing in primaries to determine the November matchup for the next two-year term representing the southern Minnesota district, as well as a special election to finish the last few months of Hagedorn’s term.


It’s been roughly three decades since Connecticut had a Republican in the US Senate, but the party isn’t giving up.

In the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthalthe party has endorsed former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides. She’s a social moderate who supports abortion rights and certain gun control measures and says she did not vote for Trump in 2020. Klarides contends her experience and positions can persuade voters to oppose Blumenthal, a two-term senator who in May registered a 45% job approval rating, his lowest in a Quinnipiac poll since taking office.

Klarides is being challenged by conservative attorney Peter Lumaj and Republican National Committee member Leora Levy, whom Trump endorsed last week. Both candidates oppose abortion rights and further gun restrictions, and they back Trump’s policies from him.


Leahy’s upcoming retirement has opened up two seats in Vermont’s tiny three-person congressional delegation — and the opportunity for the state to send a woman to represent it in Washington for the first time.

Democratic US Rep. Peter Welch, the state’s at-large congressman, quickly launched his Senate bid after Leahy revealed he was stepping down. Leahy, who is president pro tempore of the Senate, has been hospitalized a couple of times over the last two years, including after breaking his hip this summer.

Welch has been endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and is the odds-on favorite to win the seat in November. He faces two other Democrats in the primary: Isaac Evans-Frantz, an activist, and Dr. Niki Thran, an emergency physician.

On the Republican side, former US Attorney Christina Nolan, retired US Army officer Gerald Malloy and investment banker Myers Mermel are competing for the nomination.

The race to replace Welch has yielded Vermont’s first wide-open US House campaign since 2006.

Two women, including Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and state Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, are the top Democratic candidates in the race. Gray, elected in 2020 in her first political bid, is a lawyer and a former assistant state attorney general.

The winner of the Democratic primary will be the heavy favorite to win the general election in the liberal state. In 2018, Vermont became the last state without female representation in Congress when Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed to the Senate.


Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; Doug Glass in Minneapolis; Susan Haigh in Hartford, Conn.; and Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vermont, contributed to this report.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at