* Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis report that a lot of people on Capitol Hill are disgusted with the latest Republican tax plan:

Senate Democrats exploded on Wednesday over late-night changes that Republicans made to their tax cut bill, saying the new GOP plans would further punish the middle class.

The GOP additions to the bill would repeal the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act and would force all tax cuts for individuals and families to expire after 2025. Cuts to the corporate tax rate, however, would be permanent under the bill.

The Senate Finance Committee plans to vote on the evolving measure on Thursday, but Democrats expressed outrage over the late changes and quick timeline.

“Why do people think this is a swamp?” said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.). “This is Swamp 101.”

Republicans mostly rallied around the new proposals, and some said more adjustments would probably be made. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, told reporters the bill would make business cuts permanent because companies needed long-term assurances of their tax rates for planning purposes.

Here’s a hint: the corporate tax cuts are the only thing that matter to Republicans. They’re the only piece that’s not negotiable.

* Renae Merle reports on an Obama appointee who’s leaving for greener pastures:

Richard Cordray, one of the few remaining Obama-era banking regulators, said on Wednesday that he plans to step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by the end of the month, clearing the way for President Trump to remake a watchdog agency loathed by Republicans and Wall Street.

Cordray’s decision comes just a month after the CFPB suffered a major rebuke from Republicans in Congress who took the unusual step of blocking an agency rule that would have allowed consumers to sue their banks for the first time. Cordray appealed to President Trump directly not to sign the legislation but was rebuffed.

“As I have said many times, but feel just as much today as I ever have, it has been a joy of my life to have the opportunity to serve our country as the first director of the Consumer Bureau by working alongside all of you here,” Cordray said in a message to employees. “I trust that new leadership will see that value also and work to preserve it – perhaps in different ways than before, but desiring, as I have done, to serve in ways that benefit and strengthen our economy and our country.”

I’m guessing Trump will appoint an executive from Wells Fargo to fill the slot; his first move may to remove the words “Consumer Protection” from the agency’s name.

* Alice Ollstein reports that Sen. Susan Collins brandished statistics today showing that repealing the individual mandate is a terrible idea, suggesting she may vote against the tax bill.

* Aviva Aron-Dine explains the elimination of the individual mandate in the context of the riches being showered on the ultra-rich in this tax bill.

* Charles Gaba reports that nearly 1.5 million people signed up for ACA plans in the first 11 days of open enrollment, higher than anyone expected.

* Josh Kraushaar has some good on-the-ground reporting from Alabama that shows how Roy Moore just might lose, though please remember that this is Alabama.

* John Stoehr examines why the GOP is cutting Moore loose but didn’t do the same with Donald Trump.

* Eliana Johnson reports that Steve Bannon is sticking by Moore 100 percent.

* A new Quinnipiac poll finds that Americans support universal background checks by a remarkable 94-5 margin, and oppose the Republican tax cut plan by 52-25.

* Dana Milbank offers a comprehensive rundown of Donald Trump Jr. moments that suggest he may not be the sharpest tool in the shed.

* Sam Thielman talks to intelligence professionals about why Trump’s aides were such enticing marks for the Russians to cultivate.

* Peter Hermann, Ann Marimow, and Clarence Williams follow one illegal gun on its remarkable odyssey of crime.

* At The Week, I examined the Republicans’ pathetic attempt to create another Clinton scandal.

* And Fred Barbash reports that Shepard Smith is getting some serious blowback from Fox News fans for debunking the Uranium One myth.