The Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown Day 14: Dems return to the White House

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A new Congress has been sworn in and a new Speaker of the House is in place, but lawmakers and the White House are no closer to a deal to fully fund the government.

The partial government shutdown is now 14 days old.

Newly elected Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Trump-Pelosi fight threatens drug pricing talks MORE (D-Calif.) will head to the White House today to meet with President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE, who says he won’t sign any spending package unless it includes billions of additional dollars for a border wall.

Pelosi and her new majority in the House aren’t budging.


Late Wednesday night, the House passed two bills to fully fund the government but did not include any additional funds for the wall.

The Hill: House approves legislation to reopen the government, defying Trump’s opposition. 

The Washington Post: Speaker secures her place as most powerful woman in politics.

The White House announced before those votes that the president will not sign the legislation, should it reach his desk.

“The Administration is committed to working with the Congress to reopen lapsed agencies, but cannot accept legislation that provides unnecessary funding for wasteful programs while ignoring the Nation’s urgent border security needs.” — Office of Management and Budget

Of course, there’s no chance the House bill makes it to Trump’s desk because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' New Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes MORE (R-Ky.) says the upper chamber, where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, will not take it up.

“Let’s not waste the time. Let’s not get off on the wrong foot with House Democrats using their platform to produce political statements rather than serious solutions.” — McConnell 

Pelosi challenged the GOP-led Senate to break with Trump.

“What we’re asking the Republicans in the Senate to do is to take ‘yes’ for an answer. We are sending them back exactly, word for word, what they have passed. Why would they not do that? Is it because the president won’t sign it? Did they not hear about the coequal branch of government, and that we the Congress send the president legislation and he can choose to sign or not?” — Pelosi



There are cracks showing in McConnell’s coalition, as lawmakers begin feeling pressure to come to an agreement.

On Thursday, Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran Graham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat MORE (R-Colo.), who is up for reelection in 2020, became the first GOP senator to call for an end to the impasse without leveraging funds for a border wall.

“I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open. The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today.” – Gardner

The New York Times: McConnell faces pressure from GOP to stop avoiding shutdown fight.

The Hill: Senators warm to immigration deal as shutdown solution.

So, who will blink first? And when will it happen?

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump MORE (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, warned the shutdown showdown could drag on for “months and months.

That seems unlikely, as real-world tales of hardship and public disapproval pile up in hometown news reports across the country.

Some government workers, including at the Department of Homeland Security and at branches of the Armed Forces, such as the Coast Guard, will begin missing paychecks in the middle of January.

That won’t go over well, and neither would delays in tax refunds.

The Wall Street Journal: In a shutdown, IRS will take your money, but give no refunds.

The Hill: Pain is coming from shutdown, except for Trump and Democrats.

Pelosi has invited Trump to give the State of the Union address on Jan. 29. That could be seen as a working deadline, as it seems unlikely that the president or Congress will want the national address to take place against the backdrop of a shutdown.

Polling over who bears the blame for the shutdown is sparse, but the principals on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue will be keeping close tabs on the data as negotiations continue.

YouGov: Poll shows it’s becoming Trump’s shutdown.

HuffPost: Americans give everyone negative marks for government shutdown.


CONGRESS: Democrats in charge in the House moved swiftly Thursday to signal change in Congress and to put Trump on notice that he and his administration are firmly in the crosshairs.

The House voted 234-197 to approve a rules package that tackles the deficit, embraces diversity and establishes internal rules barring discrimination (The Hill). The measure passed largely along party lines despite misgivings among some progressives about its pay-as-you-go budget restrictions.

Fifteen Democrats voted against Pelosi to be Speaker, leaving no doubt about the challenges she faces within her party as Democrats build an agenda they say is not all about blocking, resisting and investigating Trump. The vote tally of Pelosi detractors is HERE.

Hours before claiming the gavel, Pelosi sought to pump the brakes on talk within her conference of impeaching Trump (The Hill). She was unsuccessful. A fellow California Democrat, Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanDems say NYT report on Trump's business losses boosts need to see president's tax returns Some Dem chairmen have changed tune on Trump impeachment Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment MORE, immediately moved to introduce articles of impeachment against the president, including allegations of obstruction of justice (The Hill). Sixty-six House Democrats backed impeachment last year.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced a measure to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerGraham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' House progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller MORE and his work from interference (The Hill). The language is similar to a bill that failed to advance under Republican control of the House last year (Bloomberg).

Also reintroduced: A Senate bill sponsored by Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenManning: Additional Assange charges are feds 'using the law as a sword' Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access Democratic senator warns of threat to press freedom in new Assange charges MORE (D-Ore.) to secure release of Trump’s federal tax filings as a means of “public transparency” (The Hill). The president says he will not disclose his tax returns because he and the Trump Organization remain under audit by the IRS. (It is widely assumed that Mueller and his investigative team secured Trump’s tax returns as part of the special counsel probe.)


On Thursday, House Democrats announced hearings on progressives’ “Medicare for all” plan, which includes health care provisions that divide rather than unite the party (The Washington Post). Pelosi says she backs the hearings (The Hill).

Amid Thursday’s “Day One” tumult, images popped up on social media hinting at some of the changes ahead for the House and Senate:












POLITICS: Trump on Thursday accused the Democrats of playing politics with the government shutdown, saying they’re more concerned with staking out left-leaning positions ahead of the 2020 presidential cycle than finding common ground on spending. 



The dynamics around the 2020 Democratic presidential primary are beginning to take shape, with endorsements rolling in, even for candidates who have yet to declare.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who ran for president in 2016, is backing former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), believing the party needs a fresh young face.



Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report Jeffrey Rosen officially sworn in as deputy attorney general This week: Democrats, White House set for infrastructure, budget talks MORE (D-Calif.) is sticking with the old guard, backing former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Castro swears off donations from oil, gas, coal executives Meghan McCain on Pelosi-Trump feud: 'Put this crap aside' and 'work together for America' MORE, who is weighing a potential third bid for the White House (Politico).

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) laid out his thoughts on how best to resist Trump in a Washington Post op-ed.

Meanwhile, two top contenders are beating back at controversies. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats join striking McDonald's workers Billionaire's M gift to Morehouse grads points way to student debt solution Poll: Nearly half of Clinton's former supporters back Biden MORE (I-Vt.) said if he runs again in 2020, he’ll do a better job of supervising campaign officials. Sanders apologized after a report in The New York Times quoted several female veterans of his campaign who said they were subjected to sexist behavior from fellow campaign officials (Politico).

And the president on Wednesday re-upped his attack on Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-Mass.) for releasing a DNA test that found she has a fractional percentage of Native American ancestry.





WHITE HOUSE: Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett predicted other U.S. companies will join Apple in lowering earnings projections because of China’s ebbing economic engine, further weakened by trade frictions with the United States (Bloomberg). 

“It’s not going to be just Apple. There are a heck of a lot of U.S. companies that have sales in China that are going to be watching their earnings being downgraded next year until we get a deal with China.” — Hassett

Trump defended his China trade policy as financial markets reacted with alarm to the Apple news. Technology stocks suffered their worst losses in seven years (The Associated Press).



Reuters: Weak sales at Apple and Cargill, U.S. giants of technology and agriculture, may be the clearest sign yet that Trump’s quest to reset world trade carries costs at home.

The State Department chose Thursday to publish a travel advisory about China: “Exercise increased caution in China due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals. Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using ‘exit bans,’ sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years. China uses exit bans coercively.”

Trump and his White House advisers are weighing Jim Webb, 72, an iconoclastic former Democratic senator, unsuccessful presidential aspirant and former Navy secretary, among potential candidates to succeed James MattisJames Norman MattisShanahan orders new restrictions on sharing of military operations with Congress: report Pentagon reporters left in dark as Iran tensions escalate Trump officials slow-walk president's order to cut off Central American aid: report MORE as Defense secretary (The New York Times). (During the president’s search for a nominee, acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Trump defense chief: US may send more troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions Dem senator plans amendment to restrict military action against Iran MORE leads the Pentagon.) Webb famously clashed with the last Republican President when George W. Bush asked about his son, who served in Iraq.


Let’s play the market meltdown blame game, by Desmond Lachman, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

An agenda for the new Congress, by Dan Glickman, former secretary of Agriculture.


The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley & Alexis Simendinger Suggestions? Tips? We want to hear from you! Share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., features interviews with White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley and Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthNancy Pelosi fends off impeachment wave — for now CBO: Medicare for All gives 'many more' coverage but 'potentially disruptive' Congress, White House near deal on spending, debt limit MORE (D-Ky.) about the government shutdown. And House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan House Intelligence enjoys breakthrough with Justice Department Schiff blasts Trump's 'un-American' order to intel agencies to cooperate with Barr probe MORE (D-Calif.) sits down with actor Richard Schiff, of “West Wing” fame, to discuss the 116th Congress.

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m.

The House meets at 9 a.m. for legislative business. Pelosi and the Democrats will unveil their “For the People Act” at 11 a.m.

The president invited lawmakers back to the White House Situation Room at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the budget impasse that has partially shuttered federal operations for two weeks. At 3 p.m., Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Trump defense chief: US may send more troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions Pompeo slams 'unconscionable' release of 'American Taliban' MORE.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the government’s employment report for December at 8:30 a.m. U.S. job growth likely picked up last month, with wages expected to have increased solidly (Reuters).


> Russia: American Paul Whelan was formally charged with espionage in Moscow (The Washington Post). Whelan’s attorney says he would welcome a prisoner exchange, adding it would take time (The New York Times).

> ObamaCare: A coalition of Democratic states defending the Affordable Care Act took the first steps on Thursday to appeal a recent federal court ruling that struck down the health-care law as unconstitutional, sparking what's likely to be a lengthy legal fight that could reach the Supreme Court and influence the 2020 elections (The Hill).

> States: Texas and Puerto Rico are among states and territories urging the Trump administration to release $16 billion Congress approved in 2017 to help states and cities prepare for extreme weather and natural disasters. The administration, especially the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is accused of sitting on the funds (Bloomberg). “We cannot afford to wait any longer,” Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush told the White House.


And finally … We have Morning Report quiz winners! We assembled five tough questions this week about Pelosi and received lots of good guesses.

Kudos to readers who aced the puzzle: Steve Valley, Jack Connolly, Lorraine Lindberg, Jekka Garner, Andrew Kokas, Rachel McGovern, Carolyn Dixon, David Straney, Sandy Sycafoose, Howard McKeon and Celina Moore.

They knew that Pelosi’s father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., and brother, Thomas D’Alesandro III, both served as Baltimore mayors.

Pelosi was the first woman to be Speaker of the House, the first Italian-American to be Speaker, the first Californian to be the top Democrat in the House, but she did not chair the Democratic National Committee (the “false” choice in the quiz).

Pelosi’s daughter, Alexandra Pelosi, is a documentary filmmaker

Pelosi and her top deputy, Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerSteyer plans impeachment push targeting Democrats over recess The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment MORE (D-Md.), interned as aspiring young politicians for Daniel Brewster, a former senator and House member from Maryland.

Pelosi recently appeared blindfolded on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to participate in a taste test for dark chocolate, her well-known addiction. The Speaker calls herself a “chocoholic.”