Business & Economy

On The Money: Shutdown hits Day 24 | Trump touts need for wall in speech to farmers | Poll numbers sag | House Dems push stopgap bills | How the shutdown could harm the economy | TSA absences raise stakes for deal

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Happy Monday 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.

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THE BIG DEAL–Trump touts need for border wall in speech to farmers: President Trump on Monday used his speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation in New Orleans to promote his proposed wall along the southern border during the 24th day of the partial government shutdown.

{mosads}The president, addressing the farm bureau’s 100th annual convention, touched on trade negotiations, deregulation and how the shutdown is affecting farmers. He received a standing ovation when mentioned the $867 billion farm bill he signed last year.

Much of the hour-long speech, however, was devoted to the need for border security.

“When it comes to keeping the American people safe, I will never ever back down,” Trump said. “I didn’t need this fight.” The Hill’s Brett Samuels takes us there.


Trump used his appearance to rip congressional Democrats, who’ve blocked his border wall, and appealed to farmers directly.

  • “They view the wall as being a big item that if I don’t do it, you know, it’s a negative,” he said. “And I’m not doing it for that reason. I’m doing it because we have to do it. It’s common sense.”
  • Trump highlighted the story of Jim Chilton, a rancher in Arizona who said his property has been used by drug smugglers. A Border Patrol agent was shot near the property last year.
  • Trump invited Chilton on stage, where he declared “we need a wall,” and called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to support the president’s signature promise.


Trump also on Monday rejected a proposal from a top legislative ally to reopen the government, even as a raft of polling suggested he is losing the battle for public opinion with Democrats over his demand for a border wall.


The shutdown has created more economic turmoil outlook for farmers already reeling from an ongoing trade battle between the U.S. and China.

  • The Agriculture Department (USDA), which is closed during the shutdown, said last week it would extend the deadline for farmers to apply for aid to offset losses incurred because of the trade dispute.
  • Trump made a brief mention of the plight of farmers during the shutdown, thanking them for their “support and patriotism.”
  • Trump spent the final 15 minutes of his speech assuring attendees that they would reap the benefits of trade negotiations with China, as well as a renegotiated trade deal with Canada and Mexico that has yet to be ratified by Congress.


How the shutdown can harm the economy: Farmers have plenty of company in their misery over the economic harm caused by the shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees, as well government contractors, face uncertain financial futures as the shutdown enters its fourth week with no end in sight.

About 800,000 workers missed their paychecks on Friday, putting a strain on household budgets and threatening obligations like mortgage payments and credit card bills. Here are five ways the shutdown is weighing down the U.S. economy:

  • Weaker consumer and business sentiment: Businesses and communities that depend on consumer spending from the federal workforce are already feeling the pinch. Furloughed employees and sidelined government contractors are looking for alternative ways to pay their bills and curtailing discretionary purchases.
  • Data freeze leaves economists in the dark: Economists have been deprived of a massive trove of federal data that’s published on an almost-daily basis by the Commerce Department, one of the several wings of government closed during this shutdown.
  • Stress on financial sector: Banks and credit unions are scrambling to help unpaid federal workers by deferring mortgage payments, offering free or low-cost loans and extending overdraft protections. Industry leaders say the financial sector can shoulder the burden for now, but lenders could face difficult choices if the shutdown rambles into February.
  • Obstacles for businesses of all sizes: Some smaller firms are struggling to stay afloat without promised loans from the Small Business Administration, which is closed during the funding impasse. Meanwhile, larger corporations and startups are unable to file stock offerings and other mandated paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) until the government fully reopens.
  • More economic uncertainty amid global fears: The Trump administration faces several crucial economic challenges in March, including a self-imposed deadline to reach a trade deal with China and the reimposition of the federal debt limit. Fitch has threatened to downgrade the U.S.’s credit rating if the shutdown becomes tied up with the debt-limit battle.


Dems keep pushing to reopen government: The House this week is slated to take up two continuing resolutions (CRs) aimed at temporarily reopening the government as negotiations remain stalled over funding for President Trump’s border wall.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) introduced the stopgap measures Monday:

  • The first would provide funding for closed government agencies through Feb. 1.
  • The second would provide funding through Feb. 28. Neither measure would provide additional funding for the barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The Hill’s Juliegrace Brufke tells us what to expect.



Airports snarled by security backlogs during shutdown: Absences by Transportation Security Administration workers are spiking, creating long lines and delays at airports as the partial government shutdown grinds toward the end of a fourth week.

The percentage of TSA agents missing their shifts rose to 7.6 percent on Monday, over twice the 3.2 percent rate from the same time last year and 50 percent higher than last week’s rate. 

The increase appears to be linked to the shutdown, which has left roughly 50,000 TSA agents working without pay. The Hill’s Niv Elis tells us what’s going on and why.


Check back tomorrow for our look into how the shutdown is affecting the US air travel industry.


Supreme Court waives off challenge to CFPB structure: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). 

The State National Bank of Big Spring, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the 60 Plus Association had asked the justices to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s decision to reject their challenge to the constitutionality of the CFPB’s structure as an “independent” agency.

The District of Columbia Circuit’s decision to dismiss the case came after the court’s full panel of judges upheld the constitutionality of the agency’s structure in a separate case. But critics of the agency note that there are other challenges in the court pipeline. The Hill’s Lydia Wheeler fills us in.

Important nugget: The court said that Justice Brett Kavanaugh took no part in the consideration or decision of this appeal. Kavanaugh had reviewed the case when he was on the District of Columbia Circuit and dissented from the court’s en banc ruling.

{mossecondads}Kavanaugh also authored a 2016 ruling for the D.C. Circuit finding the CFPB’s structure unconstitutional and its director fireable at will by the president. The court overturned that ruling 6-3 last year, but the CFPB’s supporters see Kavanaugh as an existential threat to the bureau.  





  • Tech workers hoping to capitalize on the success of last year’s walkouts by Google employees are launching a social media campaign against forced arbitration clauses that are commonly found in Silicon Valley’s employment contracts.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is going to restart high-risk food inspections this week despite the partial government shutdown, which has forced the FDA to suspend most routine domestic food facility inspections. 
Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Brett Kavanaugh Donald Trump Ivanka Trump Nancy Pelosi Nita Lowey

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