The Hill's Morning Report - Government is funded, but for how long?

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report, and it’s Monday. We have 51 days left until spring! Our newsletter gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Co-creators are Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger (CLICK HERE to subscribe!). On Twitter, you can find us at @joneasley and @asimendinger.

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The full government is open but the clock is ticking on the next funding deadline.

The short-term spending bill that went into effect on Friday will expire on Feb. 15, leaving lawmakers scrambling for a solution that can pass the Democratic-controlled House, the GOP-controlled Senate and be signed into law by President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE.

Lawmakers on the Appropriations committees in the House and Senate will begin meeting this week in search of a way forward (The Hill).

Both sides want to avoid another shutdown and seem to agree that funding for additional “smart wall” technologies and border personnel is warranted. There is optimism that the fresh start might lead to a broader immigration reform deal.

"I’m reasonably optimistic. I think everybody’s stepped out into the new world we’re in — Republican Senate, Democratic House, new Speaker, Republican president. Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSCOTUS confirmation in the last month of a close election? Ugly Senate to push funding bill vote up against shutdown deadline Social media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day MORE (R-Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, on “Fox News Sunday”

But the big question hanging over Washington is whether a long-term spending package will have enough money for a barrier along the border to satisfy the president.

When Trump announced on Friday that he’d sign the stopgap bill to reopen the government, he also made clear that if the next funding bill doesn’t satisfy his demand for wall money, he’d shut the government down again or circumvent Congress by declaring a national emergency.

“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15 again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.” Trump

The Wall Street Journal: In a Sunday interview, the president said he doesn’t believe congressional negotiators will strike a deal over border wall funding that he could accept. Trump vowed to build a wall anyway, using emergency powers if need be.

Republicans don’t want another shutdown and are warning Trump against declaring a national emergency.

“I don't think it's a good idea. I think it'll be a terrible idea. I hope he doesn't do it. I don't think it's leverage.”  — Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power McConnell pushes back on Trump: 'There will be an orderly transition' Graham vows GOP will accept election results after Trump comments MORE (R-Fla.) on NBC’s “Meet the Press”

The pressure is on the White House to keep the government open and deliver a wall for Trump’s base after the president suffered a stinging defeat in round one of the shutdown fight.

“The question is: Can the president be a reliable negotiator?” — former Rep. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentRepublican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden Biden picks up endorsements from nearly 100 Republicans Bush endorsing Biden? Don't hold your breath MORE (R-Pa.)

"I think what will happen is that the efforts to continue to build physical barriers, which have gone on in the last two administrations, will continue, but not to the degree the president has requested.” – Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Poll: 57 percent of Americans think next president, Senate should fill Ginsburg vacancy On The Trail: Making sense of this week's polling tsunami MORE (R-Maine) on CBS’s “Face the Nation”

The Hill: Post-shutdown negotiations look brutal for Trump.

The New York Times: New Congress tries to begin again.

Meanwhile, life will return to normal for those impacted by the 35-day partial government shutdown.

 

 

The longest shutdown in history cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars, made a mess of air travel across the country, wreaked havoc at the IRS ahead of tax filing season, and was a financial strain for the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have gone more than a month without pay.

Reuters: As U.S. government reopens, lawmakers say shutdowns don’t work.

The Hill: How the government will reopen.

Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOn The Money: House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles | New York considers hiking taxes on the rich | Treasury: Trump's payroll tax deferral won't hurt Social Security Blockchain trade group names Mick Mulvaney to board Mick Mulvaney to start hedge fund MORE said Sunday that eligible federal workers — such as those at the U.S. Coast Guard or Food and Drug Administration who worked without pay — should be made whole by the end of the week.

However, federal contractors, such as Yvette Hicks, a security guard at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, do not expect to receive back pay (Reuters).

Also up in the air: the State of the Union address, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Overnight Health Care: New wave of COVID-19 cases builds in US | Florida to lift all coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars | Trump stirs questions with 0 drug coupon plan Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Calif.) has not invited the president back yet.

 

 

Shutdown fallout … The U.S. economy lost $6 billion due to the shutdown (Reuters) … Lawmakers are pushing for new legislation to outlaw shutdowns (The New York Times) … Cities worry about post-shutdown pain (The Hill).

LEADING THE DAY

CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is moving closer to a presidential bid.

If Schultz runs, it will be as an independent.

“We’re living at a most fragile time. Not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day in revenge politics.” — Schultz on CBS News’s “60 Minutes”

Most voters don’t recognize Schultz’s name right now but he has a $3.3 billion fortune he can draw on to change that.

Edward-Isaac Dovere reports that Democrats are already growing worried that a Schultz candidacy could appeal to left-leaning independents and help get Trump reelected (The Atlantic).

“I have a concern that, if he did run, that, essentially, it would provide Donald Trump with his best hope of getting reelected.” — Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

 

 

Another candidate who could run as an independent: Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).

Nick Troiano and Charles Wheelan: Run, Howard, Run!

 

 

Meanwhile, the field of Democratic contenders isn’t waiting:

> Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTexas Democratic official urges Biden to visit state: 'I thought he had his own plane' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden on Trump: 'He'll leave' l GOP laywers brush off Trump's election remarks l Obama's endorsements A game theorist's advice to President Trump on filling the Supreme Court seat MORE (D-Calif.) officially launched her presidential bid from Oakland, Calif., on Sunday night.

 

 

The Los Angeles Times: Harris emerges as 2020 front-runner, but is that a good thing?

Reuters: Harris’s past as a prosecutor draws scrutiny.

> Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters Republicans not immune to the malady that hobbled Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election MORE (I-Vt.) is getting close to officially launching a presidential bid (Yahoo News).

> Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package Warren, Khanna request IG investigation into Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds MORE (D-Mass.) is making big moves on taxes as she seeks to stand out in the crowded field and win over the party’s progressive voters (The Hill).

> Democratic mayors see new hope for 2020 and are seeking to leverage their outsider status to gain traction in the field (The Hill).

> Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida MORE is acting like a presidential candidate, but his aides say he doesn’t feel any pressure to jump in early (The Hill).

> Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) decision might be months away (Politico).

> Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Trump pledges to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, designate KKK a terrorist group in pitch to Black voters MORE is telling friends that she hasn’t ruled out running for president in 2020 (CNN).

> Ties to Wall Street and corporate interests are raising concerns about a number of high-profile Democratic candidates considering 2020 White House bids (The Hill). The money race in the early days of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary is largely frozen, according to fundraisers. Some analysts question whether big money donors will hold the same sway as in the past (The Associated Press).

On the other side of the aisle, the Republican National Committee (RNC) passed a resolution on Friday announcing its “undivided support” for Trump and calling him a “pragmatic, energized President who shares and understands the will of the American people.”

The RNC, which has been fully co-opted by Trump’s allies, stopped short of officially endorsing the president for technical reasons, but is seeking to discourage potential primary challengers.

One man the White House is watching: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who will be in Iowa in March (Politico).

The New York Times: As bruised Trump faces uncertain 2020, his team fears a primary challenge.

The Washington Post: RNC aims to boost Trump ahead of primary season.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

INVESTIGATIONS: Trump ally Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. The agony of justice Our Constitution is under attack by Attorney General William Barr MORE is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Washington on Tuesday faced with a seven-count indictment as part of Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s investigation. Stone, a colorful personality involved in GOP politics for decades, is accused of obstructing an official proceeding, making false statements to investigators and tampering with a federal witness.

Stone says he will plead innocent on all counts (The Hill). He added on Sunday that he will tell the truth and did not rule out cooperating with Mueller (CNN).

The arrest Friday of the 66-year-old admirer of Richard Nixon and informal political adviser to Trump launched media speculation about whether the special counsel has evidence of election meddling in 2015 or 2016 that leads inside the Trump campaign.

Stone denies direct contacts with Russia or WikiLeaks, although he has admitted contacts with Guccifer 2.0, identified by U.S. intelligence as an arm of Russian intelligence involved in the theft of Democratic National Committee communications and emails belonging to John Podesta, then the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Notably, the indictment Friday did not allege collusion with the Kremlin in a conspiracy to help Trump win the presidency (The Associated Press).

Former Stone friends Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico — who appeared before the federal grand jury impaneled by Mueller and helped to contradict Stone's testimony to Congress — signaled they are prepared to serve as witnesses against Stone (The Hill).

The Mueller probe, now in its 20th month, has resulted to date in criminal charges filed against 34 people. The special counsel has obtained guilty pleas from six Trump associates and advisers, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFBI official who worked with Mueller raised doubts about Russia investigation Our Constitution is under attack by Attorney General William Barr Bannon trial date set in alleged border wall scam MORE and his associate Richard Gates; former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn; former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen; and former Trump campaign aide George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosTale of two FBI cases: Clinton got warned, Trump got investigated Trump says he would consider pardons for those implicated in Mueller investigation New FBI document confirms the Trump campaign was investigated without justification MORE. None of the charges has involved conspiracy with Russia.

Trump says the Mueller investigation continues to be a “witch hunt,” and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Stone’s indictments have nothing to do with the president (The Hill).

The Washington Post: Trump advisers lied over and over again, Mueller says. The question is, why?

Perspectives and analysis:

Benjamin Wittes: What to make of the “dirty trickster’s” indictment?

Alan Dershowitz: The Stone indictment follows a concerning Mueller pattern.

Jonathan Turley: Stone’s indictment isn’t good news for those seeking Trump’s impeachment.

John Podesta: An unsurprising but still satisfying indictment.

Elie Honig, former federal prosecutor: Flipping Roger Stone

Paul Callan, CNN legal analyst: Stone must have made Mueller really angry.

Todd Purdum: Trump World follows a “Godfather” script – literally.

 

 

The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley & Alexis Simendinger. We want to hear from you! @jeasley@thehill.com and @asimendinger@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!

OPINION

The abyss of hate versus hate, by Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine. https://nym.ag/2FSsTf8

When the State of the Union address is poisonously partisan, by Glenn Altschuler, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2B9SyM9

WHERE AND WHEN

The House convenes at noon.

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. and resumes consideration of a motion to turn to the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act.

The president and Vice President Pence will have lunch at 12:30 p.m.

Internal Revenue Service: The tax filing season for 2018 begins today, and may not go smoothly (The New York Times).

The Congressional Budget Office and CBO Director Keith Hall will hold a press briefing at 11 a.m. on the budget and economic outlook.

To mark “Data Privacy Day,” the Progressive Policy Institute hosts a discussion calling for national privacy legislation at 11:30 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington. Details HERE.

PBS NewsHour, moderated by Judy Woodruff, and Johns Hopkins University’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute present a live-streamed event in Baltimore at 7 p.m., featuring three governors known for bipartisanship. Guests are Maryland’s Hogan; Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D).

Eastern Tennessee State University hosts a “Festival of Ideas” this week. Author and former Democratic political adviser Jennifer Palmieri takes questions after remarks at 6:30 p.m. (WJHL.com). Palmieri, a White House adviser to former Presidents Clinton and Obama, directed communications for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and will likely be asked about Trump and current political and congressional events. Location: Johnson City, Tenn.

ELSEWHERE

> Venezuela: The Trump administration continues to back Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president and urges countries to officially withdraw recognition of the rule of President Nicolás Maduro, calling his claim to power “illegitimate.” On Sunday, the administration accepted Guaido’s designation of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as the chargé d’affaires of Venezuela to the United States.

European leaders gave Maduro eight days to hold new elections. The United States, Canada, the Organization of American States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia endorsed Guaidó (The Hill).

Asked over the weekend at the United Nations if the Trump administration would sanction countries that continue to back Maduro, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Trump's push for win with Sudan amps up pressure on Congress  Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize MORE replied, I’m not going to speculate on what we’re going to do next.”

Venezuela has allowed U.S. diplomats to remain, following Maduro’s threat to eject American personnel (The Associated Press).

 

 

Meanwhile, a new AP-NORC poll finds that a minority of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of foreign policy (The Associated Press).

> YouTube: The earth is not flat, and YouTube will stop pushing out videos that promote that idea and other false concepts. The world’s largest video platform, owned by Google, is changing its algorithms to stop recommending videos that peddle conspiracies, misinformation and extremist content (The Washington Post). Over the weekend, Pope Francis blasted internet culture and urged young people to unplug (Rome Reports).

> Criminal justice and linguistics: Are judges, jurors and lawyers misunderstanding African American witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants when they speak in Philadelphia courts? A new study says court reporters — regardless of race — inaccurately transcribed sentences spoken in African American English dialect 40 percent of the time, based on a research test conducted in the city’s court system (The Philadelphia Inquirer). The research, to be published in June by the linguistic journal Language, raises questions about how black dialect may impact African Americans in courts beyond Philadelphia (The New York Times).

> Consumer protection: Beware the drawbacks of switching to digital billing statements from paper invoices. A survey by Consumer Action found that 78 percent of those who receive bills by mail review the information for accuracy. But only 43 percent of consumers do the same with bills they elect to receive electronically, leaving them potentially susceptible to errors and fraudulent transactions they might fail to address (NBC News).

THE CLOSER

And finally … Let’s hear it for the humble slingshot, an ancient weapon newly resurrected to tackle a decades-old hazard known as “monkey menace” at the Taj Mahal in India.

Hordes of wild monkeys, protected by law in India, continue to pose a danger to guards and tourists at the mausoleum in Agra, sparking interest in a new form of deterrence using what the locals call “gulels” or “catapults” (Reuters). The monkeys, which are fearless, food-focused and armed with sharp teeth and claws, have for years outsmarted other efforts at control.