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 AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (Maine), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE (Colo.), Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonGeorgia senator discharged from hospital after fall Georgia senator hospitalized after fall Senate GOP raises concerns about White House stopgap plan to avoid shutdown MORE (Ga.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief Congress kicks bipartisan energy innovation into higher gear MORE (Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyA US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces 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 PenceThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters FEC chair calls on Trump to provide evidence of NH voter fraud Five years after Yazidi genocide, US warns ISIS is rebounding 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 GrahamPelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid Graham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid 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 RossTrump administration delays penalty on Huawei for another 90 days WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Recession fears surge as stock markets plunge 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 TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump 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 WextonThe Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats Congress needs to continue fighting the opioid epidemic 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