On The Money: Trump teases 'major announcement' Saturday on shutdown | Fight with Dems intensifies | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking trip to Afghanistan | Mnuchin refuses to testify on shutdown impacts

On The Money: Trump teases 'major announcement' Saturday on shutdown | Fight with Dems intensifies | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking trip to Afghanistan | Mnuchin refuses to testify on shutdown impacts
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Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money, where we'll be off Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and returning on Tuesday. 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 teases 'major announcement' on shutdown. There's a chance we see some sort of path out of the shutdown on Saturday, though. The president tweeted Friday that he would make a "major announcement" Saturday regarding the "Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border," raising the possibility that the president is planning to declare a national emergency in an attempt to address funding for his planned wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as a way of circumventing Congress.

 

Why now? Trump has repeatedly flirted with the idea of declaring a national emergency, though this week he seemed to back away from that proposal, which some critics warned could set a negative precedent.

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"It's the easy way out, but Congress should do this," Trump told reporters earlier in January, adding he would "rather not" pursue the option due to the likelihood of facing court challenges from Democrats.

Trump and the Democratic-controlled House have battled for weeks over the shutdown, which was trigged by the president's demand for more than $5 billion in funding for a border wall.

 

This week though the fight got nastier: Trump on Thursday blocked Pelosi or any other members of Congress from going on congressional delegation trips abroad with military transport without prior approval from Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyGiuliani meets with fired Ukrainian prosecutor who pushed Biden, 2016 claims: report Fox's Napolitano says obstruction 'easiest' impeachment offense for Democrats The key impeachment hearings are before an appeals court, not the House Judiciary panel MORE, his acting chief of staff. His move appeared to be in response to Pelosi's decision to ask Trump to delay his Jan. 29 State of the Union address given what she said were security concerns related to the shutdown.

 

THE LATEST-Pelosi accuses Trump of outing trip to Afghanistan over shutdown: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday said President Trump revealed that she and other lawmakers would be making a trip to Afghanistan on a commercial flight, a revelation that made it too dangerous to go forward with the trip.

The White House quickly said it was not behind the leak, and accused Pelosi of lying.

"We weren't going to go because we had a report from Afghanistan that the president outing our trip had made the scene on the ground much more dangerous because it's a signal to bad actors that we were coming," Pelosi told reporters.

The Speaker called the leak a shocking break in protocol, saying it was standard for such trips to be kept quiet given the inherent dangers of high-ranking U.S. officials traveling abroad.

Pelosi, who as Speaker is second in line to succeed the president, added that the delegation included several senior lawmakers and panel chairmen, making it a high-profile target.

"We never give advance notice of going into a battle area -- we just never do," she said. "Perhaps the president's inexperience didn't have him understand that protocol -- people around him though should have known that because that's very dangerous."

 

White House responds: The White House said other parties must have leaked the information, suggesting it was becoming widely known.

"When the Speaker of the House and about 20 others from Capitol Hill decide to book their own commercial flights to Afghanistan, the world is going to find out," a senior White House official said, according to a White House pool report. "The idea we would leak anything that would put the safety and security of any American at risk is a flat out lie."

 

More fallout from the shutdown

  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at Pittsburgh International Airport held a protest on Friday demanding an end to the government shutdown, which has forced TSA officials to work without pay.
  • PayPal will provide up to $25 million in interest-free cash advances to help federal workers going without pay during the partial government shutdown make ends meet.
  • An anonymous donor in Philadelphia is providing hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of interest-free loans to federal workers in the city who are affected by the ongoing government shutdown.
  • Sales are apparently piping hot for a "shutdown mug" created by Stephen Colbert that benefits a nonprofit working to help furloughed government workers.
  • The Hill's Alex Gangitano looks at how lobbyists for alcohol and tobacco companies are trying to make the best of a bad situation during the government shutdown.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Mnuchin rebuffs Dem request for testimony: House Democrats are also pressing Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWorld Bank approves billion-plus annual China lending plan despite US objections On The Money: Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown | Trump asks Supreme Court to shield financial records from House Democrats | House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Hillicon Valley: Pelosi works to remove legal protections for tech companies from USMCA | Treasury sanctions Russian group over 0 million hack | Facebook sues Chinese individuals for ad fraud | Huawei takes legal action against FCC MORE to appear before lawmakers to discuss the impact of the shutdown on his employees.

Mnuchin declined to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee next week, but Treasury staff agreed to hear from senior Treasury and IRS officials "who are most knowledgeable concerning the lapse plans now in place for the Department and its bureaus."

Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week House to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices MORE (D-Mass.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, asked Mnuchin to reconsider, saying "With more than 70,000 Treasury employees furloughed and missing paychecks, I strongly believe Secretary Mnuchin himself should appear before our committee and answer members' questions."

Here's some background on why Democrats are concerned:

  • Treasury on Tuesday released a shutdown contingency plan for the IRS for the tax-filing season, under which more than half of the IRS employees will be working during the filing period. But Democrats are worried about how the upcoming tax-filing season will work during the shutdown.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

RECAP THE WEEK WITH ON THE MONEY: