What Now?!? – 1/6/2019

Washington Post: “Food stamps for 38 million low-income Americans would face severe reductions and more than $140 billion in tax refunds are at risk of being frozen or delayed if the government shutdown stretches into February, widespread disruptions that threaten to hurt the economy.”

“The Trump administration, which had not anticipated a long-term shutdown, recognized only this week the breadth of the potential impact, several senior administration officials said.”

Republican sources tell Mike Allen that “although they don’t see an imminent solution to the shutdown the White House is likely to cave when 800,000 federal workers stop getting paid and the hardships become a staple of local news coverage across Trump country.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) “has personally been working the phones and calling senior executives at Wall Street firms in recent weeks to see whether they would back her campaign if she jumps into the race,” CNBC reports.

LOL.  Well her candidacy is over.  Thanks for playing.

“Top White House officials and senior congressional aides were meeting Saturday to try to negotiate a breakthrough to end the partial government shutdown that has persisted for two weeks with no end in sight,” the Washington Post reports.

“Expectations for the meeting at the White House, led by Vice President Pence but lacking lawmakers whose sign-off would be needed to secure a deal, were low. While assigned by President Trump to oversee the meeting, Pence did not have the president’s blessing to float new or specific numbers, as the vice president had done last month in a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).”

Also interesting: “Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, continues to tell his allies that he believes there could eventually be a deal for border wall funding in exchange for protections of children brought to the United States illegally.”

Full citizenship for all undocumented residents here illegally (full amnesty) and then we will talk about improving the fencing that already is there.  Nothing more.

New York Times: “As Mr. Trump began exploring a presidential run in 2014, his political advisers landed on the idea of a border wall as a mnemonic device of sorts, a way to make sure their candidate — who hated reading from a script but loved boasting about himself and his talents as a builder — would remember to talk about getting tough on immigration, which was to be a signature issue in his nascent campaign.”

“Now, Mr. Trump’s fixation with a border wall — the material embodiment of his keep-them-out immigration agenda — has run headlong into the new realities of divided government, pitting him against Democrats who reject the idea out of hand. The impasse is particularly remarkable given that even some immigration hard-liners do not regard the wall as their highest priority and fear that Mr. Trump’s preoccupation with it will prompt him to cut a deal that trades a relatively ineffectual measure for major concessions on immigration.”

John Harwood: Trump’s “great wall” is a fantasy that even he knows will never be real.

Stan Collender: “President Trump yesterday started calling the now two-week old government shutdown a ‘strike’ as if it were federal employee-instigated event.”

“He’s completely wrong. It ‘s not being caused by employees; it’s completely the result of a — Trump’s — management decision. That makes this a ‘lockout.’”

NBC News: The Shutdown is taking a human toll across America.

“Democratic presidential contenders are already locked in an important battle to showcase their viability, racing to build digital armies to power their campaigns,” Politico reports.

“Online support is set to play a pivotal role in the Democratic primaries, after small-dollar donors using ActBlue, the Democratic online fundraising platform, financed the Democratic House takeover — and, before that, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ underdog 2016 presidential campaign. Potential candidates have spent months building up grassroots digital supporters to fund their campaigns in 2019 and build relationships with voters before they get the chance to go to the polls in 2020.”

“Americans’ predictions for the stock market this year are almost completely determined by party, with Democrats as pessimistic about the coming year’s stock performance as Republicans are optimistic,” according to an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

“The two parties are almost exact mirror images of each other, with independents caught in the middle. It’s a good reminder of how much people’s political views can shape their expectations for their personal finances, not just politics.”

Pew Research: “The 116th Congress includes the first two Muslim women ever to serve in the House of Representatives and is slightly more religiously diverse overall than the prior Congress. Still, 88% of the members are Christian, compared with 71% of U.S. adults overall.”

Washington Post: “About 75 percent of the funding for federal agencies actually got approved in September, on time, including such critical entities as the Pentagon, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration. And then Congress moved the deadline for this year’s funding for the remaining agencies till four days before Christmas.”

“This meant that, once the shutdown started, the most important services provided by the federal government — soldiers’ salaries, veteran benefits, Social Security checks — went on, business as usual.”

“And the services that closed — federal museums, services at national parks, delayed tax refunds — have slowly shuttered over the holiday season, when the public was not paying much attention, and will continue over the next month.”

“Congress is reviewing the Trump administration’s decision to lift sanctions on companies owned by Oleg Deripaska, an influential Russian oligarch with close ties to President Vladimir Putin,” the New York Times reports.

“The reviews could fuel a congressional effort to block the administration’s decision, which came after an aggressive lobbying and legal campaign against the sanctions by Mr. Deripaska’s corporate empire.”

“President Trump raised the possibility on Friday of declaring a national emergency to let him to build a wall on the Southwest border without congressional approval, hours after Department of Homeland Security officials requested additional support to erect temporary barriers between the United States and Mexico,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump’s comments followed a contentious meeting with Democratic leaders at the White House. It failed to produce a deal to end the 13-day partial shutdown of the federal government, a funding lapse that began with the president’s insistence that Congress allocate $5.6 billion for the wall.”

Said Trump: “We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly.”

“President Trump claimed without evidence on Friday that past presidents have privately confided to him that they regret not building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border,” Politico reports.

“But at least three of the four living U.S. presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — did no such thing.”

Asked if Clinton told Trump that he should have built a border wall, Clinton spokesman Angel Ureña said, ‘He did not. In fact, they’ve not talked since the inauguration.’ Bush spokesman Freddy Ford also said the two men had not discussed the matter. And Obama, for his part, has not spoken with Trump since his inauguration, except for a brief exchange at George H.W. Bush’s funeral in Washington, D.C.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “strode into Iowa Friday with all the look of a presidential candidate, igniting pent-up Democratic frustration with her brand of fiery liberalism in the premier caucus state,” the AP reports.

Said Warren: “It’s time to dream big and fight hard, not just for those at the top, but for an America that works for everyone.”

New York Times: “Though Ms. Warren’s campaign is still nascent — she announced the formation of an exploratory presidential committee on Monday — Friday’s event had all the hallmarks of a candidate meant to last: a laser-focused message on income inequality, a robust campaign staff shepherding hordes of interested reporters, and an excited supporter base eager to hear more.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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