On The Money: Trump says he won't declare emergency 'so fast' | Shutdown poised to become longest in history | Congress approves back pay for workers | More federal unions sue over shutdown

On The Money: Trump says he won't declare emergency 'so fast' | Shutdown poised to become longest in history | Congress approves back pay for workers | More federal unions sue over shutdown
© Getty

Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, vneedham@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @VickofTheHill, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

 

THE BIG DEAL: President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE on Friday said he will hold off on declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress and begin building his long-promised border wall, at least for the time being.

The president's decision to pull back from his threat to declare an emergency means that the White House is bracing for the partial government shutdown to drag on.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump told reporters at the White House that he has the authority to make an emergency declaration to jump-start wall construction, but said, "I'm not going to do it so fast."

"It's the easy way out, but Congress should do this," Trump said, adding he would "rather not" because the declaration could face court challenges that would delay wall construction for months. The Hill's Jordan Fabian takes us there.

 

Rewind:

  • Trump had said for days that he was leaning toward declaring a national emergency to jumpstart construction of the wall, and his administration had begun internal discussions about how to proceed.
  • During a border visit Thursday viewed widely in Washington as a wind-up to an emergency declaration, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that "if we don't make a deal with Congress, most likely I will do that."

But Trump stepped back from that statement Friday, saying he rather cut a deal with Democrats who've fiercely opposed his $5.7-billion border wall funding request.

 

So what changed? A group of Republican lawmakers and White House officials, including Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates House Judiciary to vote to authorize subpoenas for Trump officials, immigration documents MORE, have urged Trump not to declare an emergency. They say the chances of starting constriction right away are slim because of the legal challenges the declaration would draw.

 

No end in sight: Talks between Trump and Democratic congressional leaders have gone nowhere this week. With no progress made toward a funding bill and the emergency declaration off the table for now, the White House is bracing for a longer shutdown.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Office of Management and Budget is planning for the partial shutdown to stretch through February.

 

Financial pain sets in: Friday is the first day that hundreds of thousands of federal employees will miss their paychecks. That's left a major chunk of the federal workforce at risk of missing mortgage payments, other bills and even basic necessities.

The House on Friday passed a bill to ensure that workers sidelined by this shutdown and any in the future will receive back pay for missed checks.

Seven House Republicans, though, voted no: Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashSC Republican Mark Sanford considering primary challenge to Trump Democrats erupt over Trump attacks Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller MORE (Mich.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question House sends Trump border aid bill after Pelosi caves to pressure from moderates MORE (Ariz.), Glen Grothman (Wis.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran House sends Trump border aid bill after Pelosi caves to pressure from moderates GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions MORE (Ky.), Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyRising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Ocasio-Cortez defends being sworn in at hearing on conditions for migrants MORE (Texas) and Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question Overnight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran MORE (Fla.).

Trump has pledged to sign the bill, which passed the Senate yesterday.

Even so, federal employees won't receive any of that money until the shutdown ends, hitting workers living paycheck-to-paycheck the hardest. Banks and credit unions are scrambling to help those workers with mortgage payment deferrals, low or no-interest loans and overdraft protection.

But at some point, lenders will be forced to make tough decisions about how much they can aid workers if the shutdown lasts as long as the White House is expecting.

Rob Nichols, president of the American Bankers Association, urged the "administration and Congress to end the standoff before it does any more damage to the economy, federal employees and everyday citizens."

"Our member banks across the country report that the shutdown is starting to take a toll on local communities, preventing customers from securing mortgage approvals and small business loans, while threatening even more harm if the impasse continues," Nichols said.

 

LEADING THE DAY

House Dems pass more funding bills: The House approved legislation that would fund and reopen the Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Forest Service in an 240-179 vote on Friday, the latest effort by Democrats to put pressure on Republicans and President Trump to end the partial shutdown.

Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the measure. They were GOP Reps. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisRepublicans say they're satisfied with 2020 election security after classified briefings House passes sweeping Democrat-backed election security bill Transportation lawmakers race scooters in House office building MORE (Ill.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker Bipartisan group of lawmakers invites colleagues to tour DC's Holocaust museum MORE (Pa.), Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerDems push to revive Congress' tech office Bill allowing Congress to hire Dreamers advances House fails to override Trump veto on border wall MORE (Wash.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Trump: 'Petrified' Democrats afraid to take on progressive congresswomen The Memo: Toxic 2020 is unavoidable conclusion from Trump tweets MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoStudent loan borrowers are defaulting yearly — how can we fix it? Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban MORE (N.Y.), Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerGOP lawmakers say Trump wrong to criticize Biden in Japan Overnight Defense: Trump officials say efforts to deter Iran are working | Trump taps new Air Force secretary | House panel passes defense bill that limits border wall funds Trump taps new Air Force secretary MORE (Ill.), Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithThe Hill's Morning Report - Warren cements front-runner status in first Dem debate Lawmakers sound alarm over violence in Sudan The four House Democrats who voted against the border funding bill MORE (N.J.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikRising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban MORE (N.Y.), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonRising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran MORE (Mich.) and Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenOvernight Energy: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers 'highly toxic' to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting 'forever chemicals' | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker MORE (Ore.).

It was the fourth measure approved by the Democratic-controlled House this week. Democrats are voting on a series of bills to open up the parts of the government closed since Dec. 22, which has left about 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA —Biden unveils health care plan | Proposal pitches subsidies, public option | Biden vows if you like your health insurance, 'you can keep it' | Sanders protests planned Philadelphia hospital closure MORE (R-Ky.) has said he will not bring any of the bills up to a vote in the Senate until there is a deal between Trump and Democrats on the president's demand for border wall funding. The Hill's Juliegrace Brufke has more here.

 

Unions sue over shutdown: Federal employee unions filed a lawsuit Friday alleging that the government is violating federal labor laws by requiring employees deemed "essential" to continue working through the partial shutdown without pay.

The lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., was brought by the National Federation of Federal Employees, the National Association of Government Employees SEIU, the National Weather Service Employees Organization and the law firm Snider & Associates on behalf of federal workers.

The 19-page complaint accuses the federal government of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying workers overtime and minimum wage. The Hill's Lydia Wheeler has more here.

  

GOP senators pitch immigration-wall deal as shutdown talks stall: A pair of Republican senators introduced legislation on Friday that would pair President Trump's border funding request with a fix for an Obama-era immigration program, as lawmakers hunt for an end to the ongoing partial government shutdown. The Hill's Jordain Carney tells us more here.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • The marijuana industry is boasting its largest lobbying team in Washington ever, as it gears up to push through major legislation in 2019.
  • The Trump administration is considering moving forward with a major conservative change to Medicaid by allowing states to get block grants for the program.