The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Zika funding fate unknown, the trouble with scoring tax plans, and down ballot worries grow about Trump

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

RYAN SHIFTS TALK OF ZIKA FUNDING TO APPROPRIATIONS: Democrats may want an emergency bill to fund research and prevention work on the Zika virus but House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) signaled last week that the process might get tied in with annual appropriations. Morning Consult’s Will Dobbs-Allsopp has more:

The reluctance of House Republicans to approve the administration’s request for emergency Zika funding is only the latest occasion where GOP lawmakers have balked at green-lighting Democratic appeals for swiftly sending federal money for public health crises. A broad, bipartisan energy bill in the Senate is on the legislative back burner after Republicans and Democrats failed to reach compromise on sending aid to Flint, Mich., where residents are dealing with lead-tainted water.
Regarding the Zika request, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), along with two subcommittee heads Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.), said Thursday that using leftover Ebola money would be the “most expeditious way,” to address the Zika threat. They put their proposal in a letter Thursday to Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

ECONOMISTS CAN’T AGREE ON COST OF PRESIDENTIAL TAX PLANS: Voters are learning something this campaign season that tax and budget watchers have always known: it is really hard to predict economic impacts of polices that have not been implemented. That has been on display in recent weeks as economist argue over just how much it would cost to implement the tax plans released by presidential candidates. FiveThirtyEight digs deep into why its hard to figure out the real world cost of these proposals.

The trouble is, these plans don’t exist in isolation: Changes in tax policy have far-reaching ripple effects on the economy. In theory, there is little doubt that we should try to take such “dynamic effects” into account, but in practice there is often significant disagreement among economists about how exactly to do so. The Tax Foundation, which tends to lean to the right, thinks the tax increases that Sanders is proposing will slow the economy, further reducing tax receipts (since there will be less money to tax) and making the revenue impact look larger than it would under a static model. Friedman, at UMass, thinks the extra government spending that Sanders is proposing will speed up the economy, making the plan less expensive than it looks at first.

THE TRUMP EFFECT RIPPLES DOWN THE BALLOT: It is growing increasingly difficult to deny the possibility that brash businessman Donald Trump has a shot at winning the GOP nomination for president and that may have some negative consequences for Republicans running for office down the ballot. Power Post has looks at the Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) and his hotly competitive race in suburban Chicago:

Candidates in any race spend a lot of time and money telling voters exactly who they are. This year, moderate House Republicans like Bob Dold are investing as much time telling voters who they aren’t — in this case, Donald Trump.
Dold — an Illinois Republican running for reelection in one of the most competitive districts in the country — may be caught in what some Republicans fear will be a powerful Trump downdraft, sinking vulnerable down-ballot Republican candidates instead of lifting them up. Though many won’t say so on the record, still hoping that anyone-but-Trump will win their party’s nod, several Republican strategists are voicing fear about the fate of the rest of their party’s candidates if the wealthy business mogul becomes the GOP standard-bearer. Some worry about a similar dynamic if hardline conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) nabs the nomination.