The Beltway Beat

— Congressman Garret Graves on President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Army Corps of Engineers: “I’ll be very candid. This nomination was a mistake.” (CQ Roll Call)

— NPR, on U.S. Sen. John Kennedy: “This week, one senator quoted the singer Meat Loaf during a committee hearing. That set off an all-out Meat Loafquotation battle among the lawmakers.”

— This morning’s POLITICO PLAYBOOK: “Ben Howard, part of the White House leg affairs team, is coming back to the Capitol to work as House Majority Whip Steve Scalise's (R-La.) floor director.” Scalise: "Members trust him, and I am honored to welcome him to the Whip Team."

— Via Elizabeth Crisp’s TwitterScalise’s campaign is selling “Team Scalise” $5 koozies.

— Congressman Mike Johnson on the U.S. Supreme Court’s backing Trump’s travel ban: “Carefully vetting any person entering our country from areas known to be terrorist strongholds is not a controversy, it is common-sense.

— Johnson on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm'n U.S. Supreme Court case: “If the government can force [Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips] to use his artistic expression to promote an event or message that violates his deeply held religious beliefs...everyone may be subject to the coercion of the government.”

— Congressman Ralph Abraham on Twitter: “Activist judges might sometimes win the battle, but this ruling by SCOTUS to allow full enforcement of the travel ban shows the Constitution still wins the war...I support this ruling.”

— Graves and Abraham to tax bill negotiators: “Don’t forget about Louisiana flood victims.” THE LETTER

 Congressman Cedric Richmond congratulated New Orleans Mayor-Elect Latoya Cantrell on the House floor. WATCH

— U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy retweeted an “interesting” column today on why the U.S.-Yemen policy needs to be “forced out into the sunlight.”

— Congressman Clay Higgins introduced the Post-Caliphate Threat Assessment Act of 2017. Higgins: “Weakness of the Obama-era Executive Branch and State Department, and the associated alarming decline of our military...has brought great peril upon the world.”

— The U.S. House passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act this week… Johnson via press release: “Just as we are afforded our right to speak freely no matter which state we are in, so too are we bestowed our rights outlined under the Second Amendment regardless of where we are in the United States.” FLOOR SPEECH

— Scalise via press release: “With this law, we put public safety first...we are making important progress in preventing mass shootings from happening in the future.”

— Higgins via press release: “’Shall not be infringed,’ was not intended by the drafters of our Constitution and Bill of Rights to be a suggestion.”

— Abraham on Facebook: “The man who attacked the church in Texas should not have had a gun, yet he was allowed to purchase one because bureaucrats failed to report him to the criminal background check system.”

— Louisiana Tech University earned a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation for its cybersecurity programs. Abraham: “As the first university in the country to establish a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Engineering degree program, I know that Tech is deserving.”

— As Alabama voters hit the polls today in a high-stakes special election, a new poll from Morning Consult and Politico finds the majority of voters believeRoy Moore should be expelled if he's elected. FULL RESULTS

— writes on Alabama Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby not supporting Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidate Moore: “For a state's senior senator to not support his party's nominee for the other seat is almost unheard of. Historians could find just one example: from 1990, when Louisiana's Republican nominee was David Duke, a former KKK leader.”

— Richmond on the Children’s Health Insurance Program: “Instead of funding this program, the GOP is reconciling their disastrous tax bill.”

— Scalise on Fox & Friends: "We still talk about the ‘86 tax cuts under Reagan. You’re going to be talking about these Trump tax cuts and how it got our economy moving again.” VIDEO

— Kennedy on retaining certain amendments in the tax bill: “Louisiana needs tax cuts, and we also need to educate our kids and stop our coastline from disappearing.”

— Higgins penned U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady asking other provisions in the tax bill be included. Higgins: “I’m confident that they’ll reach a combined [Senate and House] version that provides for the concerns of South Louisiana and results in tremendous economic growth.”

— Scalise also talked taxes on Fox's Mornings with Maria

— Richmond is still pushing sign-up for the Affordable Care Act before this week’s open enrollment deadline.

— Cassidy discussed “pill-mills” and the opioid epidemic with National Institute of Health Director Francis CollinsWATCH or READ

— Johnson questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray on ISIS and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. WATCH

— Scalise on Jerusalem: “President Trump actually followed through on what most politicians have simply talked about for years and fulfilled his promise to recognize the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and begin the steps necessary to move the U.S. Embassy there.”

— Abraham: “Israel is our strongest ally in the region, and we should always stand with them.”

— Scalise on Fox Business: “If you look at a lot of the success we’re seeing at bringing our allies together, that’s been from the leadership of President Trump.” WATCH or READ

— Kennedy and Cassidy met this week with U.S. President Donald Trump, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn to talk about renewable fuel standards.

— Cassidy: “The current Renewable Fuel Standard is harming Louisiana refiners, families, fishers and workers.”

— Kennedy: “We have 17 refineries with thousands of workers who depend on maintaining a reasonable proportion of biofuels for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It’s imperative that we ensure our nation’s refineries have a seat at the table.”

— Cassidy on introducing the Prioritizing the Most Vulnerable Over Lottery Winners Act: “The Medicaid program should prioritize the people who need help the most, not lottery winners.”

— Cassidy is one of the senators asking the the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to review its medical providers. LETTER

— Cassidy toured the Sasol petrochemical manufacturing complex in Lake Charles: “Sasol is creating thousands of jobs in Southwest Louisiana...We need more of them and they’re providing them.”

— Graves on his bill to ban U.S. Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl from receiving back pay: “Those funds should go to the service members and families affected by the search that followed his desertion.”

— Graves’ RED SNAPPER Act, co-sponsored by Johnson, Higgins and Richmondgets marked up in committee this evening. LIVE FEED

— FYI: “RED SNAPPER Act” is short for “Regionally Empowered Decision-making for Snapper, Noting the Angling Public and the Preservation of an Exceptional Resource Act.” Sorta wordy, but the letter match up and all.

— Graves on the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act: “There are over 200 sanctuary cities in the US, and...illegal immigrants account for 75% of federal sentences for drug possession and made up more than a third of all federal sentences. This is absurd.”

— Roll Call profiled Graves for his routine use of Facebook Live video.

— Speaking of which, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Communications Director Jimmy Frederick will interview Graves on Facebook Live tomorrow. DETAILS

— ICYMI: The Graves-Richmond “duplication of benefits” amendment in the Disaster Recovery Reform Act passed out of House committee last week. The bill also includes Graves’ language to turn food banks into emergency services during disasters, as well as to give local governments “more rights to challenge FEMA public assistance denials,” his office tells us.

— POLITICO PLAYBOOKScalise threw a “Cajun Christmas party” in Eastern Market last night: "Guests dined on traditional Cajun cuisine as the Capitol Hillbillies played. Scalise joined them to play his washboard, known as the 'Zydeco Lightning.'"

— The Senate passed Kennedy’s resolution asking all members of Congress spend at least one day a year substitute teaching. Kennedy: “Teaching is the most difficult job in the world, and very few members of Congress have stood in front of a class of students and taught.”

— The National Defense Authorization Act, including Johnson’s cybersecurity review mandate, is now law. Johnson: “Under the Trump administration and Republican-led Congress, we have begun a new era of military readiness and prioritization.”

— Scalise tells Bloomberg the public's apprehension over GOP tax reform is the same misperception citizens had before the Tax Reform Act of 1986. He also dodges the question of whether he'll support Moore if he gets the Senate seat.

— Cassidy talked about the link between drug pricing and curing Alzheimer’s. WATCH or READ

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