A major tax overhaul passed Congress and was signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 22, to take effect in 2018. Of lesser note, a stopgap spending bill followed a similar path in late December to
keep the U.S. government funded through mid-January. In the traditionally Republican state of Alabama, a Democratic candidate won a contentious “special” (that is, off-cycle) Senate election to fill a vacant seat—narrowing
an already-thin Republican majority.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May paid dearly for an early Christmas gift: Brexit divorce negotiations made sufficient progress in mid-December, as they were accepted by the European Council, but only after May’s government gave in to many EU demands regarding a financial settlement, citizen rights and the Irish border.