On The Money: Shutdown Day 34 | Senate rejects two measures to end shutdown | Trump says he will take wall 'down payment' | Pelosi rejects Trump proposal | GOP senators blast Pence on strategy | Ross sparks controversy with comments on furloughed workers

On The Money: Shutdown Day 34 | Senate rejects two measures to end shutdown | Trump says he will take wall 'down payment' | Pelosi rejects Trump proposal | GOP senators blast Pence on strategy | Ross sparks controversy with comments on furloughed workers

Happy Thursday 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--Senate rejects two measures to end shutdown: Senate Republicans blocked a stopgap measure to end the partial shutdown on Thursday, the second of two failed efforts to end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Senators voted 52-44 on the legislation, falling short of the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster.

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GOP Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderTrump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Turf war derails push on surprise medical bills | Bill would tax e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaign | .5M ad blitz backs vulnerable Dems on drug prices Turf war derails bipartisan push on surprise medical bills MORE (Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsIs a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial? The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE (Maine), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (Colo.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman The Hill's 12:30 Report: Job growth soars in November MORE (Ga.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiIs a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial? The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE (Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyIs a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial? The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE (Utah) broke ranks and voted to advance the stopgap bill, which would have reopened and funded the quarter of the government currently shuttered through Feb. 8.



The vote came after the Senate also rejected a White House–backed proposal on Thursday that would have exchanged reopening the government for $5.7 billion for the wall. It would have allowed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and some temporary protected status holders to apply for a three-year extension of some legal protections, but included new restrictions on asylum seekers. The Hill's Jordain Carney breaks it down here



The highlights:

  • In a blow to Trump, the White House proposal got less support in the Senate than the stopgap measure, failing in a 50-47 vote.
  • The back-to-back failed votes in the Senate guarantees that the partial government shutdown will stretch into next week. More than 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or forced to work without pay; they will miss their second paycheck on Friday.

 

The background: Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans believe Trump is to blame for the shutdown, and his approval ratings have fallen steadily since the shutdown began on Dec. 22.

Senate Republicans have largely remained aligned with Trump. They are defending a majority of their 2020 Senate seats in red states and don't want to set up a fight with the president or anger his base.

 

GOP anger at White House: Even so, GOP senators raged over the shutdown in a lunch with Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceNorth Korea is everybody's problem, so Trump must change his approach Mark Levin calls Trump 'first Jewish president' Pence: It's not a 'foregone conclusion' that lawmakers impeach Trump MORE today, blasting Trump's strategy and imploring the White House to find a way out. 

 

A glimmer of hope? A group of moderate senators are continuing to talk behind closed doors and have floated asking for a temporary CR in exchange for taking up Trump's border request.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Graham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip MORE (R-S.C.), who has been a part of that group, reiterated on Thursday that he still wanted to pass a three-week stopgap bill but they likely needed more buy-in from Pelosi if they were going to gain traction.  

Trump said Thursday he would accept a stopgap spending bill to reopen the government but only if it contains a "prorated down payment" for the border wall, hinting at a possible deal to end the shutdown.



Trump's proposal: Trump told reporters at the White House he would consider legislation with a portion of his desired border wall funding, but did not specify a dollar amount.

"If they come to a reasonable agreement I would support it, yes," Trump said when asked about talks between Senate leaders.

If that doesn't work, the White House is preparing a draft of an emergency declaration Trump could issue to secure funding for a wall along the southern border, CNN reported Thursday.

 

Pelosi wasted no time Thursday rejecting Trump's proposal for a "down payment" on a border wall as a condition to reopen the government.

Walking off the House floor, Pelosi said the proposal is "not a reasonable" one.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Ross: 'I don't quite understand' why federal workers need food banks: Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossJudge rejects DOJ effort to delay House lawsuit against Barr, Ross Pelosi gets standing ovation at Kennedy Center Honors Space race is on: US can't afford congressional inaction in this critical economic sector MORE said Thursday that he was confused why thousands of federal workers, who've already missed one paycheck, are relying on food banks during the partial government shutdown.

Ross said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" that he didn't understand why some of the roughly 800,000 unpaid federal workers have flocked to food banks for meals instead of taking out loans against back pay guaranteed by a bill President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE signed last week.

"I know they are and I don't really quite understand why," said Ross, who's reportedly worth roughly $700 million.

"So the 30 days of pay that some people will be out, there's no real reason why they shouldn't be able to get a loan against it, and we've seen a number of ads of financial institutions doing that." I've got more on Ross' comments and the backlash here.

  • Hundreds of banks and credit unions have offered low- or no-interest loans against back pay to federal workers who will not be paid until the shutdown ends.
  • But thousands of those employees are still struggling to cover basic expenses, and furloughed federal contractors may not receive backpay at all.
  • A significant part of the federal workforce lives paycheck to paycheck, and roughly 40 percent of Americans do not have sufficient savings to cover a surprise expense of $400, according to a 2018 report from the Federal Reserve.

Ross' comments spurred a firestorm of backlash from Democratic lawmakers and Trump administration critics, who panned the wealthy commerce secretary as out of touch. 

 

Ross backtracks: Ross sought to tamp down the criticism in an interview later Thursday on Bloomberg TV. The Commerce secretary said his comments were only meant to offer guidance to workers facing a "liquidity crisis."

"We're aware, painfully aware, that there are hardships inflicted on the individual workers," Ross added. "All I was trying to do is make sure they're aware there are possible other things that could help somewhat mitigate their problems."

Freshman Rep. Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonPro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA Democrat unveils bill requiring banks to identify suspicious activity related to guns Newly-elected official feels 'stronger' than she did when she flipped off Trump's motorcade MORE (D-Va.) invited Ross to visit a Washington food bank so he could get a better sense of why federal workers, including those from her district in the D.C. suburbs, were going there.

"I wanted to extend an invitation to you to visit the Capital Area Food Bank with me this weekend to meet some of these federal employees, hear their stories firsthand, and realize how important it is to end this shutdown as soon a possible before people's lives are irreparably harmed," Wexton (D-Va.) wrote in a letter to Ross on Thursday.



Jobless claims fall to 49-year low but spike for federal workers: The fewest numbers of Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits in more than 49 years, reflecting the continued strength of the labor market.

Jobless claims fell 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 199,000 for the week ended Jan. 19, the lowest level for initial claims since Nov. 15, 1969, when it was 197,000, the Labor Department said.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market, smoothed out some volatile numbers, falling 5,500 to 215,000.

However, the number of federal employees applying for unemployment insurance has spiked dramatically. Federal civilian employees filed 25,419 initial jobless claims in the week ending Jan. 12, about 15,000 more than the previous week. The 143 percent jump came around the time that the shutdown became the longest in U.S. history.

 

GOOD TO KNOW 

 

ODDS AND ENDS