Photo by Benedikt Geyer on Unsplash

This blog is about what happened during Week Four of the 2018–2019 partial government shutdown. Let’s hope it doesn’t go into Week Five!

What happened before Week Four? Plenty! I’ve got you covered. You may want to take a look at my blog posts about Week One, Week Two, and Week Three.

January 12, 2019: Day 22 of the Partial Shutdown

  • NPR posted an article titled: “It’s Official: The Partial Government Shutdown Is the Longest in U.S. History”. From the article:

The partial government shutdown is now the longest in history, as Saturday marks day 22. The previous record was 21 days, set in the winter of 1995–‘96 when President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich were at odds over budget cuts.

Congress went home for the weekend, as some 800,000 federal workers are on furlough, and many have now gone without their first paycheck. Mortgages are held up, security personnel at airports are strained, Coast Guard families line up at a food pantry, and a large majority of the country says they feel the shutdown is “embarrassing”…

  • NBC News posted an article titled: “Government shutdown becomes longest in U.S. history, enters ‘uncharted territory”. From the article:

…Jason Furman, professor of the practice of economic policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the most recent chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama, said the nation is “entering increasingly uncharted territory.”

“The impact really depends heavily on how the highly ambiguous rules are interpreted and implemented by the administration, for example the decisions around SNAP and refund checks matter a lot,” Furman said in an email. “Overall, however, we know that the costs of the shutdown grow non-linearly with time as agencies run out of ways to get around it. So expect them [agency cost] to grow.”

It’s the uncertainty that leaves a lot of experts worried about the economic impact that a prolonged shutdown could have, especially during a period of global market uncertainty…

  • President Trump tweeted: “Democrats could solve the Shutdown in 15 minutes! Call your Dem Senator or Congreswoman/man. Tell them to get it done! Humanitarian Crisis.”
  • President Trump tweeted: “I just watched a Fake reporter from the Amazon Washington Post say the White House is “chaotic, there does not seem to be a strategy for this Shutdown. There is no plan.” The Fakes always like talking Chaos, there is NONE. In fact, there’s almost nobody in the W.H. but me, and…”
  • President Trump followed that tweet with another tweet: “…I do have a plan on the Shutdown. But to understand the plan you would have to understand the fact that I won the election, and I promised safety and security for the American people. Part of that promise was a Wall at the Southern Border. Elections have consequences!”
  • Philip Rucker (White House Bureau Chief at The Washington Post) tweeted: “It seems the president was watching @ PeterAlexander, @ kwelkernbc and me talk on @ TODAYshow this morning about the lack of strategy in the White House to end what is now the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.” His tweet includes a link to Trump’s tweet that starts with “I just watched a Fake reporter…”
  • The New York Times posted an article (in April of 2018) titled “To Trump, It’s the ‘Amazon Washington Post.’ To Its Editor, That’s Baloney.” The article provides context to Trump’s tweets from today.

Amazon does not own The Washington Post. President Trump, however — impervious to certain facts and armed with a Twitter account — has tried hard to convince the public otherwise.

On more than one occasion, the president has called the newspaper the “Amazon Washington Post.” He has also accused it of being used as a “scam” to keep Amazon’s taxes low. And on Twitter over the weekend, he escalated his attack, declaring the “Fake Washington Post” a “lobbyist” for Amazon and demanding that it “REGISTER”….

  • Politico posted an article titled: “Trump touts shutdown plan, but advisers say ‘no one knows what he will do’”. From the article:

…Trump was slated to spend the day speaking by phone to staff and lawmakers, one White House official said. In the meantime, it remained unclear how long he would let the longest shutdown in the nation’s history drag on or whether he planned to declare a national emergency in the coming weeks to secure the funding he has demanded for a wall at the U.S.’s southern border, according to four advisers and staff reached by POLITICO….

“No one knows what he will do, and the president has not decided yet, so it keeps everyone guessing,” said one Republican close to the White House. “This could go on another week and he could declare an emergency, or this will go on until February.”

The president did not have any public events listed on his schedule for Saturday and Sunday. With weather forecasters predicting several inches of snow in Washington, golf — one of Trump’s favorite past times — seemed out of the question.

Instead, he spent the morning tweeting about a New York Times report that the FBI had opened an investigation into whether Trump acted on behalf of Russian interests early in his presidency and insisting Democrats return to Washington to fund his long-promised wall and re-open government…

  • CBS News posted an article titled: “TSA workers to get $500 bonuses during shutdown”. From the article:

TSA Administrator David Pekoske has approved a one-time $500 award for each uniformed TSA screening officer, utilizing “unique authorities provided TSA in law.” The award is equivalent to about four days’ pay for many officers. It’s essentially a performance bonus for the holiday season.

The government entered its fourth week of a partial shutdown on Saturday, making it the longest shutdown in American history. Around 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed or are working without pay. As TSA screeners are considered “essential,” they have been working without pay since the shutdown started on December 22…

…The bonus is “in recognition of their hard work during yet another busy holiday travel season, maintaining the highest of security standards during an extraordinary period”, Pekoske wrote on Twitter.

The $500 award, as well as payment for those who worked on December 22, should appear in screeners’ accounts in the next few days…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Oregon governor’s husband cleans park amid shutdown, sends Trump bill”. From the article:

Dan Little, the husband of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D), is sending President Trump a $28 bill after he cleaned up bathrooms that were overflowing with garbage at a local park that was understaffed due to the partial government shutdown.

Brown confirmed the news in a tweet on Friday in which she also included before-and-after photos of the bathrooms at the Mt. Hood National Forest Sno-Park and a photo of her husband standing alongside a pile of full garbage bags.

“This is just one of the many reasons I love my husband, Dan,” Brown tweeted…

…The tweet also featured a photo of an invoice that her husband addressed to Trump for the services of “U.S. Forest Service Trash Removal.”…

  • Governor Kate Brown posted her tweet on January 11, 2019. It includes the photos described by The Hill. The full text of the tweet says: “This is just one of the many reasons I love my husband. He visited Mt. Hood National Forest Sno-Park, and like many national parks across the country, found it a mess due to the partial government shutdown. He cleaned the bathrooms — and sent the bill to President Trump.”
  • USA Today posted an article titled: “No shutdown for Weather Service ‘tirelessly’ forecasting snowstorm”. From the article:

As winter weather threatened to dump up to eight inches of snow in Washington, D.C., the National Weather Service’s staff kept providing vital information for the nation even as meteorologists tracked the storm without pay in the government shutdown.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which the weather service is under, confirmed in a statement to USA TODAY that its forecasts are on track despite the partial federal closure.

“Much of NOAA National Weather Service operations are excepted status and therefore remain in place to provide forecasts and warnings to protect lives and property,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement to USA TODAY. “With several storm systems impacting the country, staff continue mission-essential functions.”

Weather service employees working are in “an excepted status,” meaning they aren’t being paid now but will get back pay once the partial federal government shutdown ends..

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Dems struggling to help low-wage contractors harmed by shutdown”. From the article:

Democrats are struggling to come up with a way to provide back pay for low-wage contractors losing income because of the partial shutdown, a complicated process that hasn’t been tackled during previous government closures.

Contracted maintenance workers, cleaners, security guards and cafeteria staff at government buildings are among the hardest hit by the shutdown, which began Dec. 22.

Unlike the hundreds of thousands of affected federal employees who often receive back pay after a shutdown ends, low-wage contractors are not afforded compensation once the government reopens.

While President Trump is expected to sign legislation that would eventually give back pay to federal workers, even ensuring similar compensation after future shutdowns, contractors are not covered in that bill…

  • HuffPost posted an article titled: “Canadian Air Traffic Controllers Buy Pizza For American Colleagues Affected by U.S. Government Shutdown”. From the article:

Canadian air traffic controllers are carrying out a simple, but heartfelt gesture for their American counterparts — they’re buying them dinner amidst the U.S. government shutdown.

Air traffic controllers (ATC) in Moncton, N.B. and Gander, Nfld. sent pizza over to controllers manning the stations at the New York Air Traffic Control Center (ZNY), in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., on Friday night in support of their colleagues who are working unpaid as the American government’s partial shutdown drags into its fourth week…

…Air traffic controllers in Atlantic Canada aren’t the only Canadians reaching out to their American counterparts.

Montreal Centre sent Boston Center pizza, while Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport sent pizza to their counterparts in Burlington, Vt., and LaGuardia, N.Y.

Toronto area centre sent pizza to their colleagues at Cleveland Center, while Vancouver bought pizza for Seattle Center….

…The outpouring of support isn’t ending yet though — …Winnipeg Tower is sending dinner to Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport’s tower on Sunday night, and already covered Grand Forks’ lunch on Saturday…

  • NewsChannel 5 Nashville posted an article titled: “Senator Lamar Alexander offers solution to end government shutdown”. From the article:

…The Tennessee Senator first offered up an immediate plan for ending the government shutdown.

Alexander requested that the Senate to take President Trump’s $7 billion request for additional funding for border security and ways to address the humanitarian crisis, reopen the federal government, hold a hearing on it next week, and take three weeks to consider the request.

Senator Alexander then continued his backing of President Trump in the statement, asking why the President wasn’t allowed to extend the border wall he has been campaigning for….

…He said that following these recommendations would allow lawmakers to “reopen the government over the weekend, take three weeks to work this out, and get on with our jobs.”…

  • NPR posted an article titled: “Furloughed Workers in Hard-Hit Community Organize Potluck During Shutdown”. From the article:

The cafeteria in Montgomery Blair High School was packed last Friday, but not with high schoolers. After enduring more than three weeks of the ongoing partial government shutdown, hundreds of furloughed workers gathered in the Montgomery County, Md. high school to share a meal.

The potluck of hearty food like ravioli, pizza, and chicken — whatever people in the community had to donate — fed well more than 600 workers who are feeling the financial strain of missing a paycheck.

There was plenty of dessert too.

The meal was especially sweet for many, considering the circumstances. Just outside of Washington D.C., Montgomery County is home to at least 750,000 federal employees, so even those who aren’t furloughed are feeling the ripple effect in the community.

Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker decided to organize the potluck event, called the “Shutdown Social”, to help furloughed workers get out of the house and get their minds off the shutdown…

January 13, 2019: Day 23 of the Partial Shutdown

  • The Guardian posted an article titled: “‘It’s ruining people’s lives’: federal workers count cost of shutdown”. From the article:

…The Washington metropolitan area is home to the largest share of federal workers in the country — and on Friday, many of them missed a paycheck for the first time since parts of the federal government ceased functioning on 22 December. Frustrated employees posted photos on Twitter of their pay stub showing $0.

Members of Congress left town Friday and no negotiations are scheduled…

…The nation’s capital is now often eerily quiet during weekday afternoons.

Lunchtime hotspots that typically draw long lines have none. Food trucks pack up earlier than usual. Taxi drivers circle the city in search of passengers. And a few tourists wander the National Mall, where the Smithsonian museums have closed for the duration of the shutdown.

Meanwhile, the city of Washington has hired extra workers to clean up garbage from hundreds of trash bins managed by the federal government. The DC council had to pass the “Love Act” allowing couples to obtain marriage licenses because the bureau that handles them is funded by the federal government.

As the impact of the shutdown ripples across the region, some DC businesses are offering discounts or assistance to ease the financial burden — and tedium — of a prolonged period without work…

  • ABC News posted an article titled: “Trump, GOP blamed for shutdown; no crisis seen but fewer oppose wall (POLL)”. From the article:

A majority of Americans hold Donald Trump and congressional Republicans mainly responsible for the partial federal shutdown, now the longest in history, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Only a quarter back Trump’s claim that there’s a crisis at the southern border and two-thirds oppose him declaring a national emergency to fund a wall there, according to the poll…

…Forty-two percent now support a wall, the highest percentage in ABC/Post polling since Trump first proposed it. Fifty-four percent are opposed.

Fifty-three percent in the national survey said that Trump and the GOP are mainly responsible for the shutdown, while 29 percent blamed congressional Democrats, nearly a 2–1 margin against the president and his party. Thirteen percent said both equally are at fault. (Slightly fewer, 48 percent, blamed Trump and his party during the brief partial shutdown a year ago.)

Responsibility is assigned largely along party lines. But while 85 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of liberals mainly blamed Trump and the GOP for the partial shutdown, fewer Republicans (68 percent) or conservatives (50 percent) mainly blamed the Democrats in Congress. A third of conservatives said Trump and the congressional Republicans are at fault.

Only 18 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, said they’ve been personally affected by the partial shutdown. But 79 percent said it would be a serious problem or crisis if it were to continue for months…

The ABC News/Washington Post Poll is available to view online as a PDF.

  • President Trump tweeted: “I’m in the White House, waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking!”
  • NBC News posted an article (on January 9, 2019) that provides context to Trump’s misinformed tweet. The article is titled: “Latino House Democrats to make show of new strength in Puerto Rico”. From the article:

The overwhelming majority of Latinos in Congress are Democrats and now that their party is in charge in the U.S. House, they want Puerto Rico’s recovery to be a priority.

To that end, more than 30 Democratic members of Congress — mostly members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, but other house members too — are gathering in Puerto Rico this weekend.

They are attending the annual winter retreat of Bold PAC, the CHC’s political and fundraising arm, in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan.

While there, members of Congress will don their legislative hats and hold a round table with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, the Puerto Rico Assembly’s Majority Leader Carmelo Rios Santiago and other Puerto Rico legislative leaders.

Members are also taking medical supplies that they plan to distribute…

…The Bold PAC conference was scheduled for Puerto Rico months before the shutdown…

  • BBC News posted an article titled: “US shutdown: Trump urged to temporarily reopen government”. From the article:

A senior US Republican has urged President Donald Trump to temporarily reopen parts of the government shut down for more than three weeks.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to Mr. Trump, said a limited re-opening of a few weeks would allow talks to resume between Republicans and Democrats…

…Mr. Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he had urged the president on Sunday to temporarily reopen government to get negotiations started again.

He said if talks still failed to agree to the funding, the White House could then declare a national emergency.

“Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we are almost there, I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug (to) see if we can get a deal,” Mr. Graham told Fox News Sunday.

He said Mr. Trump had told him: “Let’s make a deal then open up the government”.

  • The Houston Bush Airport tweeted: “The @ TSA security checkpoint at Terminal B has been closed, and passengers will be routed to either Terminal C or E. if you have a flight, please allow extra time, and check for wait times.”
  • NPR posted an article titled: “As Shutdown Continues, Thousands Of Federal Workers Visit D.C.-Area Pop-Up Food Banks”. From the article:

Early Saturday morning, nearly 200 people stood in the freezing cold outside a Maryland supermarket waiting to collect a small allotment of free food.

They were federal employees, there to pick up fresh produce and canned goods from the Capital Area Food Bank, which organized five pop-up food distribution centers for government workers…

…At the end of this past week, many of them received a paycheck for zero dollars and zero cents.

“They’re just worried about where to get their food,” said the food bank’s president and CEO, Radha Muthiah. “We’ve had someone say ‘I’ll pay you back after I get my paycheck, but I just need [food] now.”

More than a quarter-million federal workers live in the capital region. As Muthiah checked the workers’ government-issued ID’s, her tally read like a cross-section of the entire U.S. government: Department of Treasury, Smithsonian Institution, General Service Administration, Food and Drug Administration, FBI, White House. As the line moved forward, the list grew longer.

The food bank — whose clients are most often people living near or below the poverty line — is helping ease at least one expense for workers whose bills keep coming even as their pay has dried up. Federal employees in line said the canned food and bags of carrots and apples would help free up funds for things like utilities, rent and baby formula…

January 14, 2019: Day 24 of the Partial Shutdown

  • Stars And Stripes posted an article titled: “Commandant tells Coast Guard families: ‘You have not, and will not, be forgotten’”. From the article:

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz drew attention to ongoing missions around the globe and expressed his support for Coast Guard families as the service prepared for about 41,000 members to go without paychecks on Tuesday as part of the ongoing partial government shutdown.

“While our Coast Guard workforce is deployed, there are loved ones at home reviewing family finances, researching how to get support, and weighing childcare options — they are holding down the fort.” Schultz wrote on Sunday. “Please know that we are doing everything we can to support and advocate for you while your loved one stands the watch. You have not, and will not, be forgotten.”…

…Around 7,400 civilian Coast Guard workers have been furloughed and the disbursement of pay for some 50,000 retired Coast Guard members and employees could be affected, officials said.

Coast Guard officials were able to pull together the $150 million needed to cover the final checks of 2018, but funds aren’t available for this week’s scheduled payday.

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “This week: No signs of urgency as shutdown enters fourth week”. From the article:

The record-breaking partial shutdown is entering its fourth week with no clear path forward to reopen government…

…But the historic nature of the shutdown is being met by a relatively quiet start to the week in Washington, where a weekend snowstorm blanketed the area with 8 to 12 inches of snow. Though roughly a quarter of the government has been closed since Dec. 22, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced Sunday night that all D.C.-based federal government offices would be closed Monday because of the weather.

As of Sunday night, neither the House nor the Senate had announced formal changes to the start of their work week, with both chambers expected to convene on Monday evening. House members could see votes delayed until Tuesday due to the snowstorm over the weekend, but no final decisions have been made…

  • President Trump tweeted: “I’ve been waiting all weekend. Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured.”
  • Yahoo! News posted an article titled: “AP FACT CHECK: Trump isn’t holed up nonstop at White House”. From the article:

…Trump says he hasn’t left the White House in “months,” including during the partial shutdown that began Dec. 22. Actually, he has ventured out numerous times — to the Mexico border this past week, for instance — and will again on Monday to New Orleans….

…Besides his trip to Iraq and Germany on December 26–27, Trump traveled to the Mexican border town of McAllen, Texas, on Thursday. On Monday, he’s going to New Orleans to address the Farm Bureau. He’s left the White House during the shutdown for meetings at Camp David and the Capitol…

  • President Trump tweeted: “Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes. At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!”
  • The New York Times posted an article titled: “President Trump Rejects Proposal to Temporarily Reopen the Government”. From the article:

President Trump said Monday that he has rejected a proposal by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to temporarily reopen the government in an effort to jump-start talks with Democratic lawmakers on funding a border wall.

“I did reject it,” Mr. Trump said of the proposal, speaking to reporters as he boarded Marine One outside of the White House, en route to delivering a speech to a farm convention in New Orleans….

…Mr. Trump said he did not want to extend the impasse over funding for the wall. It was not clear, however, what Mr. Trump saw as an alternative. “I’m not looking to call a national emergency,” he said on Monday. “This is so simple you shouldn’t have to.”

Mr. Trump, advisers said, has refused to allow his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, or anyone else negotiating on his behalf to compromise on his demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding. That has led to awkward moments in front of congressional leaders….

…Mr. Trump emerged on the South Lawn on Monday after spending a snowy weekend without leaving the White House grounds. It was a rare occurrence for a president who typically spends weekend afternoons during winter on his golf course in Palm Beach…

  • posted a thread of tweets with photos of people protesting outside of the convention center where the Farm Bureau Convention is being held. The protest was happening while President Trump was speaking inside the convention center.
  • The Daily Beast posted an article titled: “Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro Retracts False Claim That Nancy Pelosi Was ‘Partying’ In Puerto Rico During Shutdown”. From the article:

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro retracted her false claim that Nancy Pelosi was “partying” in Puerto Rico during the government shutdown when the House speaker was actually in Washington, D.C. …

  • Jeanine Pirro tweeted: “During my exclusive interview with Pres Trump I said Speaker Pelosi was in Puerto Rico with a bunch of her Democratic colleagues. I based that on numerous reports that turned out to be wrong. The Speaker’s office says she has been in DC all weekend and I take them at their word.”
  • Bloomberg posted an article titled: “House Plans Shutdown Votes as Senators Meet to Seek Compromise”. From the article:

House Democrats plan votes on two stopgap spending measures to end the partial government shutdown as a bipartisan group of senators met for the first time to discuss possible ways out of the impasse.

The meeting on Monday didn’t appear to produce any conclusion, and President Donald Trump has indicated he wouldn’t sign a stopgap without the funding he’s demanding for a wall on the Mexican border, suggesting there’s no clear resolution in sight.

Democrats are planning a vote Tuesday on a bill to open the nine closed departments and dozens of agencies through Feb.1. The bill will come up under a House procedure requiring support from two-thirds of the chamber — including minority Republicans — to pass it.

On Thursday, Democrats plan to vote on a bill to open those shuttered parts of government through Feb. 28, according to the text of the bill posted on a House website.

The measures are unlikely to gain GOP support and advance in the Senate because they don’t contain the $5.7 billion in wall funding sought by Trump…

…House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY-17) and House Democrats today announced two Continuing Resolutions to reopen the federal government and end the Trump Shutdown.

The first bill would reopen all closed federal agencies through February 1. It is expected to be considered in the House tomorrow under suspension of the rules.

To provide an additional option, Chairwoman Lowey has introduced a second Continuing Resolution that would reopen all closed federal agencies through February 28. That Continuing Resolution is expected to be considered by the House under a Rule on Thursday…

…Since January 3, the House has passed six pieces of legislation to reopen the federal government. That includes a package of six bipartisan Senate bills, four individual bipartisan Senate bills, and a Continuing Resolution for Homeland Security through February 8. Senate Republicans, acting at the behest of President Trump, have refused to consider the bills.

  • ABC News posted an article titled: “Pentagon extends troops deployment on southern border through September”. From the article:

The Pentagon has approved a request from the Trump Administration for U.S. soldiers to extend their mission along the southwestern border in order to hang concertina wire and assist with surveillance, officials said on Monday.

In a statement, the Department of Defense said the assistance would be granted through the end of September.

The Department of Homeland Security had asked for more military engineers to install the concertina wire on top of the 160 miles of already existing fencing, as well as additional aviation support, medical personnel and surveillance equipment…

…The president has suggested that the number of troops involved in the operation — dubbed “Faithful Patriot” — could rise to 15,000.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many troops would be sent and whether they will be active duty or National Guard troops.

The Pentagon’s approval came as a partial shutdown of the federal government over a border wall stretched into a fourth week…

January 15, 2019: Day 25 of the Partial Shutdown

  • President Trump tweeted: “A big new Caravan is heading up to our Southern Border from Honduras. Tell Nancy and Chuck that a drone flying around will not stop them. Only a Wall will work. Only a Wall, or Steel Barrier, will keep our Country safe! Stop playing political games and end the Shutdown!”
  • CNBC posted an article titled: “Canceled immigration hearings exceed 40,000 amid shutdown over border wall, as Pentagon extends troop deployment”. From the article:

More than 40,000 immigration court hearings have been canceled since the government shutdown began, straining the country’s immigration system…

…Immigration courts have been frozen since the shutdown began, with all scheduled hearings canceled except for those immigrants in detention centers. According to a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, 42,726 immigration hearings have been canceled as of Jan. 11.

If the shutdown continues through the end of the month, more than 100,000 hearings will be canceled; by March, nearly 200,000 will be canceled.

With a court backlog of over 800,000 pending cases, immigration lawyers expect that canceled hearings will not be rescheduled until at least 2020….

  • Rewire News posted an article titled: “Will Trump Starve SNAP Households to Get his Wall?” From the article:

…The nation’s largest food assistance program, SNAP helps about 38 million people in 19 million households put food on the table each month. Nearly half are children.

Facing criticism that funding for SNAP was set to run out at the end of January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that it had cobbled together enough money to pay February benefits. But if the shutdown drags on past that, the Trump administration doesn’t appear to have a long-term plan for keeping SNAP up and running.

The agency had nothing to say about March in its announcement — and apparently SNAP benefits will end altogether if the shutdown drags on…

…Federal workers are already flooding food banks for assistance in feeding their families. Due to the surge, some food banks have taken to hosting special events to distribute food to the furloughed federal workers. And with over 350,000 furloughed federal workers living in the D.C. region, some local food banks, such as the Capital Area Food Bank in Northeast Washington, are reportedly scrambling to get area grocers to help shore up dwindling food supplies.

And this is before any cuts to SNAP have taken effect…

…Meanwhile, SNAP isn’t the only nutrition program running short on funds due to the president’s shutdown. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — better known as WIC — is running dry too, with states already tapping emergency reserves to keep programs going. Though USDA has made assurances that the program is protected through mid-February, after that we could start to see a tidal wave of babies left holding empty bottles and women unable to feed hungry children…

  • Reuters posted an article titled: “Trump to meet lawmakers at White House as shutdown enters 25th day”. From the article:

President Donald Trump will meet members of Congress at the White House on Tuesday as the partial U.S. government shutdown enters a 25th day without resolution amid a standoff over border wall funding.

Trump is scheduled to host the lawmakers for lunch, according to his public schedule, which did not say who was attending. Moderate House Democrats were invited, CNN and Politico reported…

  • Roll Call posted an article titled: “Amid shutdown, White House, Democrats, can’t even agree on lunch”. From the article:

No house Democrats will attend a White House-organized lunch meeting on Tuesday with President Donald Trump as the partial government shutdown continues, a sign of how dug in both sides are with no deal in sight.

The White House invited a group pf members from the chamber’s Blue Dog Coalition for a lunch discussion on the 25th day of the shutdown.

“Today, the president offered both Democrats and Republicans the chance to meet for lunch at the White House,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said ahead of the 12:30 meeting., adding “Unfortunately, no Democrats will attend. The President looks forward to having a working lunch with House Republicans to solve the border crisis and reopen the government.”

Trump will break bread with nine House Republicans: Susan Brooks of Indiana; Rodney Davis of Illinois; Doug Collins of Georgia; John Katko of New York; Brad Wenstrup of Ohio; Jodey Arrington of Texas; Van Taylor of Texas; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; and Clay Higgins of Louisiana…

  • USA Today posted an article titled: “White House tries to bypass Pelosi on shutdown talks, but moderate Democrats rebuff offer”. From the article:

A group of moderate Democrats turned down the White House’s invitation to a luncheon Tuesday to discuss border security as the Trump administration sought to bypass House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and win support for border wall and funding.

Pelosi and other Democratic leaders weren’t invited to the meeting, but the speaker had given her colleagues permission to attend. None of them accepted the offer, however, and the meeting was scheduled to go on with only Republicans attending…

…Democrats “support the notion of continued dialogue,” said New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

But Democratic members invited to the White House luncheon need to ask themselves whether the administration is truly looking to end the government shutdown or just stage a photo op, Jeffries said…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “McConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time”. From the article:

Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed package to reopen the federal government for a second time in as many weeks on Tuesday.

Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) asked for consent take up a package of bills that would reopen the federal government.

One bill would fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8, while the other would fund the rest of the impacted departments and agencies through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Under Senate rules, any one senator can ask for consent to vote on or pass a bill, but any one senator can also object. McConnell blocked the two bills saying the Senate wouldn’t “participate in something that doesn’t lead to an outcome.”…

  • Tim Kaine (Democrat — Virginia) tweeted: “I said it last week and I’ll say it again: The Senate must not recess without reopening the government. Period.”

The Hill posted an article titled: “Kaine threatens to object to Senate leaving for recess”. From the article:

Sen. Tim Kaine (D.-Va.) said on Tuesday that he will try to block the Senate from taking a week-long recess if the government is still partially shut down.

“It would be outrageous for Senators to leave town this Wednesday without fixing this mess, and I object to the Senate going into recess unless Senator McConnell holds a vote on the bipartisan bills the House passed to reopen,” Kaine said in a statement.

The Senate generally leaves town on Thursday though they’ve been holding brief Friday sessions during the partial shutdown. If the Senate tried to adjourn at the end of the week and Kaine objected, Republicans could force a vote on adjourning.

House Democrats announced earlier this week that they were cancelling the recess if the government is still shut down.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not yet announced if that chamber will cancel their recess if the government is shut down.

But several Senate Republicans have signaled they believe they should remain in town, even if negotiations are still at a standstill…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “NASA Space Center employees to protest government shutdown in Houston”. From the article:

Union employees at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston are expected on Tuesday to protest the partial government shutdown that has kept them out of work for more than three weeks.

The Texas Gulf Cost Area Labor Federation, a regional member of the AFL-CIO, is organizing government employees to protest at noon outside the gates of the Johnson Space Center, The Houston Chronicle reported.

“Furloughed and unpaid federal employees will rally to protest the continuing shutdown and resulting furloughs that are financially hurting 800,000 federal employees and families,” the group said in a news release.

Most of the 3,055 people who work at NASA’s Houston center as well as 16,700 NASA employees nationwide do not know when they will go back to work….

…There are roughly 200 federal employees still working at Johnson to ensure the safety of the humans onboard the ISS…

The Washington Post posted an article titled: “‘The essence of involuntary servitude’: Federal unions sue the Trump administration to get paid for shutdown work”. From the article:

A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday refused to force the government to pay federal employees who have been working without compensation during the partial government shutdown, rejecting arguments form labor unions that unpaid work violates labor laws and the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said it would be “profoundly irresponsible” to issue an order that would result in thousands of employees staying home from work…

…Leon ruled against a consolidated claim that the National Treasury Employees Union and the Air Traffic Controllers Association filed against the government, alleging that employees should not be forced to work without pay. The list of unionized employees who have had to work without pay during the shutdown include the Internal Revenue Service, Customs and Border Protection, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, the Agriculture Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission.

The American Federation of Government Employees is among three unions, along with a number of government employee, that have filed suit against the Trump administration, alleging that employees should not be forced to work without being paid.

Leon ruled from the bench during the hearing in Washington on Tuesday, declining to issue a temporary restraining order compelling the government to pay its employees. His move keeps the status quo, allowing the shutdown to continue with no end in sight…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Latest funding bill to reopen the government fails in House”. From the article:

House Democrats on Tuesday failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to provide funding to reopen the government through Feb. 1.

The bill, which went down 237–187, was brought to the floor in an effort to pressure the GOP lawmakers to break with President Trump in his demand for border wall funding amid the partial government shutdown.

Six Republicans — Reps. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Will Hurd (Texas), John Katko (N.Y.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.),and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) — joined Democrats in voting for the measure, fewer than backed similar legislation last week.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) introduced the measure on Monday along with a separate stopgap that would provide funding through Feb. 28, which is expected to come to the floor on Thursday…

  • Military Times posted an article titled: “Vet groups plead: “If you say you support veterans, then you need to support ending the shutdown’”. From the article:

Veterans advocates are pleading with congressional and White House leaders to find an end to the government shutdown, no matter what it takes.

“They can and must do better for our country,” Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander B.J. Lawerence said at a Capitol Hill rally Tuesday afternoon. “Lives are being affected by this shutdown”.

“We have Coast Guard members securing the border and protecting us on a daily basis, but in the background they’re worried about making (mortgage) payments and putting food on the table…The American people expect better.”

Joining VFW to plead for an end to the shutdown during a Tuesday rally were a wide array of veterans groups, including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans and the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Trump administration to bring back offshore drilling staff during shutdown”. From the article:

The Trump administration is bringing dozens of federal employees back to work to carry out the administration’s plan to expand offshore oil and natural gas drilling.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM) updated its plan for the ongoing partial federal government shutdown last week to state that 40 workers would be brought in for offshore drilling, in addition to the 84 others who have already been working during the shutdown.

The employees are working in four areas: geological testing for offshore oil and natural gas in the Atlantic ocean; the administration’s proposal last year to allow offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans; environment review for that proposal and preparations for two upcoming offshore drilling lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico.

Other BOEM responsibilities, like opening offshore areas for wind energy development, remain closed.

Each of the areas is being financed through “carryover funds,” BOEM said…

…But BOEM made clear that the workers newly exempted from the shutdown are there to carry out President Trump’s agenda…

…The employees coming back to work, like others in the shutdown, will not be paid until the affected agencies reopen.

  • Feeding America posted a blog titled: “How Feeding America and its food bank network are responding to the government shutdown”. From the blog:

As the partial government shutdown continues, more than 800,000 federal workers aren’t getting paid. On top of this, federal contractors and grantees also haven’t been paid. They’re going without the check they need to support their families. And that means — through no fault of their own — that many may struggle to make ends meet.

TSA agents, members of the Coast Guard, Park Rangers, security guards and more are among those not getting paid. This puts them and their families at risk of hunger. And yet, many are working through the shutdown to ensure our country is safe….

…To meet that need, many food banks in the Feeding America network are reaching out to their communities, connecting federal workers with emergency food resources and encouraging them to visit local pantries….

…On a national level, Feeding America is sharing with the Administration and Congress the impact of the shutdown on people facing hunger. We’re making sure lawmakers understand what we’re seeing — that many workers live one paycheck away from hunger. We are also working through the impact the shutdown is having on federal nutrition programs that provide vital food assistance to millions of families across the country…

January 16, 2019: Day 26 of the Partial Shutdown

  • President Donald Trump tweeted: “There are now 77 major or significant Walls built around the world, with 45 countries planning or building walls. Over 800 miles of Walls have been built in Europe since only 2015. They have all been successful. Stop the crime at our Southern Border!”
  • Reuters posted an article titled: “U.S. government shutdown enters its 26th day as talks paralyzed”. From the article:

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday is expected to sign legislation providing 800,000 federal employees with back pay when the partial government shutdown ends, even though a conclusion to the impasse remains no where in sight.

As the shutdown stretches into its 26th day, Trump is also scheduled to meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at 11:30 a.m..

Whether the meeting is related to the shutdown was not immediately clear, however…

…On Wednesday, Trump continued to blame Democrats for the standoff and trumpet his support of the wall, writing in a post on Twitter that wall projects around the world “have all been recognized as close to 100% successful. Stop the crime at our Southern Border!”

It was not immediately clear what wall projects he was referring to…

  • Roll Call posted an article titled: “Trump to try again to court moderate House Democrats on border wall”. From the article:

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet Wednesday with the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus in the Situation Room as the White House tries to cobble together votes for a shutdown-ending bill that includes funding for his proposed southern border wall.

The Problem Solvers group is composed of just under 50 Republican and Democratic House members. The session will mark the second time in as many days the White House has attempted to court moderate and deal-minded House Democrats…

  • ABC News 7 WJKA posted an article titled: “Congress prepares to skip planned recess if shutdown goes on”. From the article:

…The House and Senate announced Tuesday they would stay in session, canceling an upcoming recess week at home if the shutdown continued, which seemed likely. On the shutdown’s 25th day Tuesday, Trump did not move off his demand to have Congress provide $5.7 billion to build his promised border wall with Mexico. Democrats say they will discuss border security once the government is reopened, but Pelosi is refusing money for the wall they view as ineffective and immoral.

The president, on a conference call with supporters, showed no signs of backing down.

“We’re going to stay out a long time, if we have to,” Trump said. “We’ll be out for a long time.”…

…Behind the scenes, though, the administration — and its allies on Capitol Hill — are warily eyeing the next payday, hoping to reach a resolution before next week’s Tuesday deadline, when they’ll need to prepare the next round of paychecks for workers who have been seeing zeroes on their pay slips…

  • WIRED posted an article titled: “As The Government Shutdown Drags On, Security Risks Intensify”. From the article:

…But crucially, from a cybersecurity perspective, organizations within the Department of Homeland Security — including the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency launched in November — are operating with a skeleton crew.

…That lack of resources has stoked fears that sophisticated hackers may use the shutdown as an opportunity to infiltrate inconspicuous, backwater federal networks, which they could then use as a launchpad to then penetrate more valuable government targets. As the shutdown persists, attackers have had weeks, instead of just hours or days, to make their moves. They could be carrying out entire operations, or laying malicious infrastructure for future assaults…

…Meanwhile, daily security IT maintenance is breaking down. Many government websites have had their HTTPS encryption certificates expire during the shutdown, exposing them to potential snooping or even impersonator sites. And with most IT staff staying home, it seems unlikely that software patches and upgrades are being installed at their regular clip, potentially leaving them exposed to malware they’d otherwise be protected against….

  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Donald Trump regarding the upcoming State of the Union Address. The contents of the letter was posted on the Speaker of the House website. From the letter:

On January 3rd, it was my privilege as Speaker to invite you to deliver the State of the Union address on January 29. The Constitution calls for the President to “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” During the 19th Century and up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, these annual State of the Union messages were delivered to Congress in writing. And since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown.

In September 2018, Secretary Neilsen designated the State of the Union Address as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), recognizing the need for “the full resources of the Federal Government to be brought to bear” to ensure the security of these events. The extraordinary demands presented by NSSEs require weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies working together to prepare for the safety of all participants.

The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events by Public Law 106–544, December 29, 2000. However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.

Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th…

  • The Baltimore Sun posted an article titled: “BWI workers plan rally to call for end to government shutdown”. From the article:

Workers at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport plan to rally Wednesday afternoon to call for an end to the government shutdown, which has left Transportation Security Administration officials among the thousands of federal employees working without pay.

BWI subcontractors — including cleaners, dispatchers, mechanics, and maintenance workers — were scheduled to rally in support of better working conditions and in solidarity with TSA employees. TSA agents are among the 800,000 furloughed federal workers affected by the partial shutdown…

…The rally, set for 2:30 p.m., will be held in the drop-off area of the airport’s departure level.

  • Pete Gilbert (WBAL TV, WBAL Radio Sportscaster) tweeted a short video of the airport workers at BWI protesting the government shutdown.
  • The Miami Herald posted an article titled: “School lunches shrink as one NC school district feels heat from government shutdown”. From the article:

…Vance County Schools officials announced on Facebook late Tuesday that lunch menus “have been revised to a minimum level to conserve food and funding” starting Jan. 21. The county is about 50 miles northeast of Durham, along the Virginia state line.

Fresh produce, bottled juices and water, and even ice cream are among the items being nixed…

…Students who once had choices of what to eat will now get the option of one entree, a piece of bread, two vegetables, one piece of fruit and milk, said the district’s post.

“No fresh produce will be included, except at elementary schools as part of the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program,” said the post. “This program will be decreased to two days each week.”…

  • Reuters posted an article titled: “EPA’s Wheeler says shutdown is delaying new ethanol gasoline rule”. From the article:

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule to allow sales of higher-ethanol blends of gasoline year-round is being delayed by a partial government shutdown, acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said on Wednesday.

The rule, a key campaign promise by President Donald Trump to farmers, an important constituency, was announced in October and would aim to expand the market for corn-based ethanol.

Speaking at his Senate confirmation hearing, Wheeler, Trump’s nominee to head the agency on a permanent basis, said the EPA was unable to work on the rule at the moment because of the shutdown…

…Wheeler said the rule would still be ready for the 2019 driving season which begins in June. Following the official release of the proposed rule, the EPA will be required to get public comment…

  • NDTV posted an article titled: “Sikh Community in US Offers Free Meals to Workers Affected by Shutdown”. From the article:

The Sikh community in San Antonio, Texas, offered free meals to US government employees affected by the ongoing shutdown that has left thousands without pay in the country…

…Federal employees, who have been forced to work without pay or have been furloughed during the partial government shutdown, were offered freshly prepared vegetarian meals for three days from January 11.

The Sikh community workers prepared the gurdwara menu which comprised lentils, vegetables, rice and tortillas.

The idea soon drew several volunteers who offered to come and cook to feed the people…

  • PBS News Hour posted an article titled: “Trump signs bill giving federal workers back pay once shutdown ends”. From the article:

The White House says President Donald Trump has signed a bill that will require some 800,000 federal employees to be compensated for wages lost or work performed during the partial government shutdown.

Wednesday’s bill signing was closed to the media. The House and Senate had voted to give the workers back pay whenever the federal government reopens…

  • Senator Susan Collins (Republican — Maine) posted a press release on her official website titled: “Legislation Authored by Senator Collins, Cardin to Ensure Federal Workers Affected by Shutdowns Receive Retroactive Pay Signed into Law”. From the press release:

Today, President Donald Trump signed into law legislation authored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) that will protect federal and other government workers from the financial repercussions of the current and future lapses in federal appropriations.

Earlier this month, Senators Collins and Cardin were joined by 28 Senate colleagues in reintroducing the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, which guarantees that furloughed employees will be paid retroactively and stipulates that all employees shall be paid as soon as possible after a lapse in appropriations ends. Senators Collins and Cardin’s bill previously passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House by an overwhelming margin…

…Senators who co-sponsored Senators Collins and Cardin’s legislation included: Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Angus King (I-Maine), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).

  • The full text of the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 is available online.
  • NBC News posted an article titled: “How the shutdown is jeopardizing housing for rural Americans”. From the article:

…Nonprofit groups that help the USDA house rural Americans say they are already feeling the pinch. The Mitchells are part of a program called Mutual Self-Help Housing, in which families put in sweat equity to build their own homes, using loans from the USDA to pay for the land, suppliers and subcontractors.

Self-Help Homes — which is overseeing the construction of the Mitchell’s home and 36 others in Utah — says that the USDA has missed about $960,000 in payments to cover these families’ building costs since the shutdown began. Self-Help Homes has been covering the bills for the families since the shutdown began, but it is running out of reserves this week, according to Brad Bishop, the group’s executive director…

…Families in the Self-Help Housing program could also face liens on their property from contractors and suppliers if they can’t cover the construction costs, which the USDA reimburses after the work is done. That could damage the families’ credit and put them under greater financial strain, said Tom Collishaw, president and CEO of Self-Help Enterprises in California. His nonprofit may have to shoulder a $700,000 bill to protect 70 families building homes through the program if the USDA funding does not come through in January.

The shutdown is also threatening low-income families across rural America who rely on rental housing subsidies from the USDA, a program that mirrors HUD’s Section 8 rental assistance in urban areas….

  • WOWT Channel 6 News posted an article titled: “Great Harvest Bread Company sets up Shutdown Shelf for furloughed employees”. From the article:

Great Harvest Bread Company stores at certain locations across the country have set up a “Shutdown Shelf,” donating bread to furloughed employees affected by the partial government shutdown…

…The shelf is stocked with sliced white and wheat bread for families affected by the shutdown…

  • KSBY 6 posted an article titled: “Morro Bay Rotary presents donations to Coast Guard members as govt. shutdown continues”. From the article:

In an effort to provide some aid during the government shutdown, the Rotary Club in Morro Bay presented local Coast Guard members Wednesday with more than $1,000 worth of gift cards to go grocery shopping.

Coast Guard members missed their first paycheck last Friday because of the shutdown…

…Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton are also joining the effort to help those affected by the shutdown and their families.

Active duty Coast Guard members can bring their government I.D. card or wear their uniform to the hospitals to receive free meals in their dining rooms.

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Georgia senator concerned shutdown could affect Super Bowl”. From the article:

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said this week that he’s worried the partial government shutdown could affect next month’s Super Bowl, which will be held in Atlanta.

Isakson on Tuesday suggested that Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport could go “out of business” because of a shortage of Transportation Security Agency employees, who are working without pay amid the shutdown, which entered its 26th day on Wednesday…

…The Super Bowl, the championship game for the National Football League, will be held Feb. 3 inside Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium…

  • NPR posted an article titled: “‘Next Round’s On Me”: Buy A Federal Worker A Beer In New D.C. Initiative”. From the article:

In the fourth week of a partial government shutdown that has left more than 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay, there’s at least one tiny consolation: Free beer….

…Now anyone can offer a little encouragement to a government worker, at least within the District of Columbia, by buying them a beer.

“Beers available NOW,” reads the Pay it Furloughed website. As of Wednesday evening, more than 1,400 free beers were available to furloughed and unpaid federal workers, with over 260 already consumed. Both numbers were rising steadily into the night…

…Nevin Martell, a food writer, started the venture over the weekend with Al Goldberg, founder of culinary incubator Mess Hall. Martell tells NPR their goal is to facilitate “a small human gesture” over long distances…

…One beer, tax included, comes to $7.50 for donors. Anyone over 21 with a valid federal I.D. can claim the beers at four partners: Atlas Brew Works, DC Brau, Shop Made in DC, and 3 Stars Brewing Company. Pay It Furloughed says it has raised over $10,000….

  • HuffPost posted an article titled: “Many Federal Employees Can’t Afford Diapers Due to Trump’s Government Shutdown”. From the article:

…After missing at least one paycheck, many federal workers can’t pay for basics like food and medication and are taking desperate measures to get those items. Affording diapers, a costly expense even for families earning paychecks, has become a particularly difficult problem. Going without them isn’t an option and there are no federal government programs that offer them…

…Jojo [the nickname of a federal worker who is currently working without pay] was relieved to learn from a friend that she could turn to the Texas Diaper Bank to get some help. The San Antonio-based nonprofit is a two hour drive from her house, but even after accounting for fuel costs, she said making the trek is still financially worthwile.

The group is offering six months’ worth of diapers and wipes to government employees and contractors affected by the shutdown…

…While the Texas Diaper Bank currently has the resources to provide extra supplies to government employees who may be seeking help for the first time, demand could very well exceed capacity, said Ashley Hernandez, program manager at the nonprofit.

The group typically supports 20 families a day. On Tuesday alone, after announcing that it was extending help to families affected by the shutdown, the organization gave out diapers to about 25 families, and more calls are coming in…

  • GQ posted an article titled: “The Government Shutdown Has Been a Nightmare for Federal Employees Who Get Sick”. From the article:

…Furloughed employees not only go without pay during a shutdown; federal regulations prevent them from earning leave and sick leave while on “non pay” status, too. And while Congress can provide retroactive accrual when the government reopens — it did so in 2013 — in the meantime, uncertainty over the shutdown is starting to have an impact. For example, federal employees do not receive parental leave, which means that during normal periods of government operation, they take some combination of accumulated paid leave and sick leave when they have children. (They may take additional time under the Family Medical Leave Act, if they so choose, but that time is unpaid.)

Once furloughed, however, leave is frozen and employees are limited to whatever time they have on hand. In some instances, it might not be enough…

…For “essential” employees — the ones required to work without pay, such as air-traffic controllers — falling ill during a shutdown presents a different set of problems. To discourage non-furloughed workers from staying home as part of a “sick-out” protest, the rules prohibit taking leave while the government is closed, which means that coming down with a bad cold has gone from a mild inconvenience to an HR nightmare…

  • Reuters posted an article titled: “U.S. shutdown taking toll on FDA, USDA inspection roles: experts”. From the article:

…Workers in public health laboratories are reporting disruptions in that analysis of DNA from food samples involved in foodborne outbreaks, and have raised concerns about a USDA program that tests agricultural commodities for unsafe levels of pesticides, they said…

…The FDA has furloughed 41 percent of its workforce of more than 17,000 employees, Thomas Gremillion of the Consumer Federation of America told the briefing. About 90 percent of USDA’s 9,500 Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) employees remain on the job but are working without pay, he said.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on Twitter on Tuesday that he is bringing back 150 food inspectors.

Foodborne disease outbreaks are investigated jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA and FSIS, which trace the source of outbreaks back to food producers.

The CDC is fully funded and continuing to investigate foodborne disease outbreaks, but “joint efforts to investigate, coordinate and communicate about such outbreaks may be delayed” as a result of the shutdown, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said.

He said that trace back and assessment of food production facilities and ongoing lab testing depend on the resources of its partner agencies, which are reudced during a shutdown…

  • Airbnb posted an article on its website titled: “How Airbnb is Supporting Federal Employees Impacted by the Shutdown”. From the article:

…Starting today, we’re offering all of our federal executive branch employee hosts some extra financial support.

All executive branch employees who share their home for three nights anytime over the three months between December 18, 2018 and March 18, 2019 will get paid an extra night on us — up to $110, which is the average per night income of our U.S. hosts…

…The program is also open to our Experience hosts who are eligible for up to $110 based on the total booked value of their Experience.

Any federal executive branch employee host — either Homes Host or Experience Host — can sign up for A Night on Us

January 17, 2019: Day 27 of the Partial Shutdown

  • Reuters posted an article titled: “Shutdown is starting to hurt Trump’s financial deregulation agenda”. From the article:

The U.S. government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s call for Congress to fund a wall he promised to build on the U.S.-Mexican border is threatening another campaign pledge to make rules easier to navigate for banks and corporations…

…The Trump administration has outlined plans to ease bank rules, overhaul corporate governance, and boost financial innovation, sparking hopes among executives that they would already start to feel the benefits this year.

Yet with Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives and the 2020 presidential campaign expected to stymie policymaking, industry lobbyists worry the shutdown will further limit the narrow window for the new rules to kick in…

…Republican lawmakers expected many of those changes would be close to the finish line by now, but several have yet to be put to public comment. This step, among others, is part of a strict rule-changing process dictated by federal law that cannot be easily expedited once the government reopens…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “TSA: Screener absentee rate slowing, still double last year”. From the article:

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials say the number of absentee employees during the government shutdown is stabilizing, but the rate is still double from the same time last year.

The number of agents missing work has gone up significantly as a result of the ongoing government shutdown.

Agency officials told The Associated Press that 6.1 percent of its workforce called out sick or otherwise missed work on Wednesday, down from 7.7 percent on Sunday but still more than double the rate of reported absences from the same time last year.

The high rate of TSA comes ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend when airports naturally experience an increased volume of travelers. Nearly 8 million Americans flew through U.S. airports last year on the holiday weekend…

…One union president for the TSA says that some agents have quit their jobs entirely due to the shutdown’s financial burden…

  • The Los Angeles Times posted an article titled: “As shutdown drags on, scientists scramble to keep insects, plants and microbes alive”. From the article:

…[Don] Weber [an entomologist] and one other member of his lab at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center have permission to do limited essential work like caring for their insects, albeit without pay. “So far, we’re able to keep enough of our colonies going so that we can start up” as soon as the shutdown ends, he said…

…Across the country, millions of fish are treading water in hatcheries run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. At one location, essential staff have scrambled to collect data on behalf of furloughed scientists who are in the midst of a multi-year experiment…

…However, university scientists and former government employees say there is little doubt that the shutdown already has created significant setbacks for federal researchers and their collaborators, especially those who can’t simply put their work on hold…

…At the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill., a skeletal crew is keeping the ship afloat, said Ashley Maness, president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees.

Essential staff can go in to water plants and feed insect, she said, but they cannot collect data on experiments that were in progress when the shutdown hit. Maness doesn’t know exactly which projects have been affected, but they are all time-sensitive…

…Other researchers are studying a fungus that kills the mosquitos that transmit Zika virus and dengue fever, and those experiments require careful monitoring of the insects after exposure…

…At one lab, [Meaghan Pimsler, an entomologist] said several employees were out of town when the shutdown hit just before Christmas and were unable to make arrangements for someone to care for their insects…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “State Dept. asks employees to return to work amid shutdown”. From the article:

The State Department on Thursday ordered employees and U.S. diplomats abroad to return to work, saying it would make additional funds available to pay most employee salaries for two weeks.

“As a national security agency, it is imperative that the Department of State carries out its mission. We are best positioned to do so with fully staffed embassies, consulates, and domestic offices,” Deputy Under Secretary for Management Bill Todd said in a statement.

The State Department has been among a number of federal agencies affected by the shutdown that started Dec. 22. Roughly 23 percent of the State Department’s direct hire employees overseas and 40 percent of those operating domestically have been furloughed, meaning they aren’t being paid and aren’t ordered to come to work…

…Employees will not receive paychecks for the first several weeks of the shutdown until a new funding bill is approved…

  • Bloomberg tweeted: “President Trump tells Nancy Pelosi her international trips are postponed due to the shutdown. Here’s the letter:”

The tweet includes an image of the letter that President Trump sent Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It says:

Dear Madame Speaker:

Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan have been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over. In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate. I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown. Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would be your perogative.

I look forward to seeing you soon and even more forward to watching our open and dangerous Southern Border finally receive the attention, funding, and security it so desperately deserves!

The letter is signed by President Donald Trump.

  • Roll Call posted an article titled: “Trump abruptly cancels military support for Pelosi overseas trip”. From the article:

…The White House decision was abrupt enough that an Air Force bus ostensibly to be used to transport members of Congress to Andrews Air Force Base was parked around 2 p.m. between the Longworth and Rayburn buildings.

The decision immediately rang alarm bells about operational security: The speaker is second in line to be president, and any trip a government official of that rank takes to a war zone or other such area is typically kept under wraps for safety and security reasons…

…White House officials declined to comment when asked if Trump considered the implication of announcing she was planning to go to still-dangerous Afghanistan, since he left the door open to her going after the shutdown…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Trump cancels delegation’s trip to Davos amid shutdown”. From the article:

The White House on Thursday scrapped a scheduled trip by several Cabinet officials to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, citing the partial government shutdown…

…“Out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure his team can assist as needed, President Trump has canceled his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Trump last week canceled his own visit to the annual gathering of world leaders and financial titans because of what he called “the Democrats intransigence on Border Security”…

…Trump had come under pressure to cancel or further pare back his administration’s Davos visit after he refused to provide military transportation for Pelosi’s congressional delegation, which was set to meet with NATO commanders in Brussels and U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan…

  • Slate posted an article titled: “The House Will Redo a Vote to Reopen the Government Because Republicans Weren’t Paying Attention”. From the article:

…The House was voting on another stopgap bill to reopen the government, this one until Feb. 28. Nearly all House Republicans routinely have voted against House Democratic spending bills over the last two week in an effort to stay in lockstep with President Trump’s demand for border wall funding. And it’s important to their messaging that they show unity against the Democratic bills.

When the bill came up, the Democrat presiding over the House, North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, called for a voice vote and declared the resolution passed. This is a standard majority move. What’s supposed to happen afterward, though, is for a member who wants a recorded vote to call for a recorded vote. The Republican at the lectern responsible for this task was Kentucky Rep. Brett Guthrie. Either he didn’t call for the recored vote, or Butterfield didn’t hear him. (If Guthrie did say something, it’s certainly not audible on the C-SPAN replay.) Butterfield waited about 30 seconds and then moved on to the next item of business…

…Some Republicans, realizing the messaging snafu that took place while they were tuned out, stayed in the chamber and tried to convince Butterfield and the Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer that Guthrie totally called for the recorded vote. Butterfield and Hoyer insisted that they didn’t hear it…

…Eventually, Hoyer and Scalise talked privately, and Hoyer left the floor. I saw him about 15 minutes later emerging from Speaker Pelosi’s office, and he confirmed that he’d decided to give Republicans another shot: They would vacate the voice vote and try again next week…

  • NBC News Channel 4 posted an article titled: “Metro Says It’s Losing $400K Per Weekday During Shutdown”. From the article:

Washington, D.C.’s Metro system says it is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars for every weekday that goes by during the partial federal government shutdown.

In a letter to U.S. Senators representing Maryland and Virginia, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said the shutdown has resulted in a 16 percent loss in average weekday Metrorail ridership and an 8 percent drop in Metrobus ridership on weekdays.

“Our preliminary analysis estimates that for an average weekday when the federal government is closed, Metro is losing approximately $400,000 in fare and parking revenue,” Wiedefeld said in the letter sent on Thursday.

He goes on to say that if ridership continues to decline, Metro might consider staffing or service adjustments such as scaling back the number of trains it uses during rush hour.

Metro could be forced to use its line of credit or postpone important repair projects if the shutdown continues longterm, according to Wiedefeld.

“Like other transit agencies, we are not receiving our grant funding and cost reimbursements during the shutdown,” the letter says.

Wiedefeld said Metro anticipates a funding gap of about $50 million through the end of January due to the unpaid reimbursements…

  • Senator Mark Warner tweeted: “Holy smokes. @ WMATA is losing $400,000 PER WEEKDAY due to the shutdown. That revenue loss doesn’t even include federal funds that are on hold because the Department of Transportation is shut down. This has got to stop.” The tweet includes images of the letter from Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld.
  • PBS posted an article titled: “Why many stores can’t accept food stamps during the shutdown”. From the article:

While so far there have been no major lapses in benefits for the nearly 39 million people who depend on food stamps amid the partial government shutdown, 2,500 retailers around the country are unable to take any form of SNAP EBT payments…

…February benefits, awarded through a debit-style card used at stores, are being paid out this week. Several states, including California and Florida, are warning users to be careful and make sure they manage to make the money last longer.

For 2,500 retailers, the problem is already here. That’s because those stores needed to renew a license for the Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT debit card program, and they failed to meet a deadline before the shutdown. Those renewals, required every five years, are on hold…

  • Politico posted an article titled: “Next shutdown victim: School lunches”. From the article:

…Under federal school meal programs, school districts typically get paid back by the federal government for the meals they pay up front to give to eligible children. But if the federal funds don’t come in, they aren’t allowed to pull from just any account to make up the shortfall…

…For the short term, many districts say a separate but related priority is ensuring that the children of furloughed federal employees are getting fed. Several district have encouraged them to sign up to receive free or reduced lunches…

…A USDA spokesperson noted in a statement that while schools have flexibility under the program, “we encourage them to use the resources we provide to create meals that will be appealing to students.” The statement said that the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program are fully funded through the end of March.

“We understand that the current lapse in appropriations creates uncertainty for the future, but we remain hopeful that Congress will soon pass appropriations legislation that the president can sign, so that we can return to normal operations,” the spokesperson said…

January 18, 2019: Day 28 of the Partial Shutdown

  • Reuters posted an article titled: “On Day 28, no sign of end to U.S. partial government shutdown”. From the article:

As the partial U.S. government shutdown hit the four-week mark on Friday, tensions mounted in Washington on either side of the standoff over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to help fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

That ultimatum, which congressional Democrats have rejected, has prevented Congress from approving legislation to restore funding to about a quarter of the federal government, which closed down partially on Dec. 22 when several agencies’ funds expired for reasons unrelated to the border.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives has left town for a three-day weekend, returning late on Tuesday. The Senate was expected to reconvene on Friday, but its exact plans were unsettled…

  • The New York Times posted an article titled: “‘It’s Making Us Less Prepared’: Shutdown Slows Planning for Hurricanes and Other Disasters”. From the article:

…But the partial government shutdown — the longest in United States history — has brought much of that fieldwork and instruction to a halt. Most researchers have been furloughed, and training academies and courses have been canceled, with no makeup dates in sight.

Emergency workers, such as firefighters, paramedics and physicians, rely on federal academies to earn national certifications, keep their training current and learn how to keep people safe during a disaster. The prolonged stalemate, though, has forced the cancellation of a five-day course at the National Hurricane Center in Florida for recently hired state and municipal emergency managers. And last month, when the shutdown began, some 50 trainees at the National Fire Academy in Maryland were sent home, their coursework incomplete, said Steve Reaves, the president of the union that represents Federal Emergency Management Agency workers…

…FEMA continues to serve communities where disasters have been declared, including wildfire survivors in California and hurricane survivors in Florida, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the United States Virgin islands. On a recent afternoon, FEMA disaster recovery center in the Florida Panhandle saw a steady flow of people seeking assistance to pay for the damage caused by Hurricane Michael…

  • NPR posted an article titled: “Federal Shutdown Has Meant Steep Health Bills For Some Families”. From the article:

…Although the estimated 800,000 government workers affected by the shutdown won’t lose their health insurance, an unknown number are in limbo… unable to add family member such as spouses, newborns, or adopted children to an existing health plan; unable to change insurers because of unforeseen circumstances; or unable deal with other issues that might arise…

  • Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi posted a statement on the U.S. Speaker of the House website. From the statement:

…“The United States Congress is a co-equal branch of government in our system of checks and balances. The Congress has a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight in the war zone where our men and women in uniform are risking their lives every day,” Hammill said. “After President Trump revoked the use of military aircraft to travel to Afghanistan, the delegation was prepared to fly commercially to proceed with this vital trip to meet with our commanders and troops on the front lines.”

“In the middle of the night, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service provided an updated threat assessment detailing the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security, and other officials in supporting the trip,” continued Hammill. “This morning, we learned that the Adminstration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well.”

“In light of the grave threats caused by the President’s action, the delegation has decided to postpone the trip so as not to further endanger our troops and security personnel, or the other travelers on the flights,” said Hammill…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Senate GOP blocks bill to reopen Homeland Security”. From the article:

Senate Republicans blocked legislation on Friday that would have temporarily reopened the Department of Homeland Security.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) asked to take up a House-passed bill that would fund the department through Feb. 8. It’s the third time Democrats have tried to bring up the stopgap measure.

But Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) objected to the request “on behalf of the majority leader,” referring to Mitch McConnell (R.Ky.)

It’s the third time McConnell has blocked the bill to temporarily reopen DHS, which is at the center of the shutdown fight. He’s also blocked a bill that would reopen the rest of impacted department and agencies three times, most recently on Thursday…

…Kaine is expected to come back to the floor multiple times next week to try and get the House bills passed. He’s also forcing the Senate to hold a rare Saturday session…

  • NPR posted an article titled: “Defying Trump Administration, Calif. Offers Federal Workers Unemployment Benefits”. From the article:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the Trump administration has told states they can’t offer unemployment benefits to federal employees who are required to report to work without pay during the government shutdown.

Newsom called a letter sent to states by the U.S. Department of Labor “jaw-dropping and extraordinary” as he met with TSA workers at the Sacramento International Airport Thursday afternoon. “So, the good news is, we’re going to do it, and shame on them.”

The governor explained that California will offer the workers unemployment coverage, despite the federal government telling the state it can’t do so for workers still on the job. Newsom says he believes California is on strong legal footing…

  • Vox posted an article titled: “Even with the shutdown, the Trump administration is suing to take land for the border wall”. From the article:

President Donald Trump hasn’t yet gotten Democrats to acquiesce to his demands for $5.7 billion to build barriers — a “wall” — on the US-Mexico border.

But that hasn’t stopped Justice Department attorneys from working to seize the land for it, even as they have to postpone most other lawsuits due to the partial government shutdown.

DOJ instructed federal attorneys to postpone any lawsuits that weren’t necessary to safeguard “the safety of human life or the protection of property” until the shutdown was over. The Trump administration has even put cases on hold that it’s argued are essential to national security — like the lawsuit over its asylum ban, which has been put on hold by a federal judge in California.

But land condemnation cases in the Southern District of Texas, where the Trump administration has declared its interest in building 104 miles of bollard fencing, are still chuggin along. Government attorneys even filed a new case in January, after the shutdown began. The Texas Civil Rights Project is representing defendants in two active eminent domain cases so far — with a third coming up soon and many more in the works — and has seen no evidence of shutdown delay…

  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Greens formally object to Trump administration approving oil drilling during shutdown”. From the article:

Three environmental groups are filing formal objections against the Trump administration’s decision to keep processing permits and taking other actions to further oil and natural gas drilling during the partial government shutdown.

WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Projects, and the Center for Biological Diversity say the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is breaking the law by processing drilling applications and preparing for upcoming drilling rights lease sales on federal land.

In addition to violating a prohibition on spending money Congress hasn’t appropriated, the groups say that since BLM cannot post information about the applications, the public cannot fully participate in the process through objections or other means…

  • The New York Times posted an article titled: “Polls Show Government Shutdown Is Eroding Faith in Economy”. From the article:

The government shutdown and a late-year slump in the stock market have eroded Americans’ optimism for the economy and support for President Trump’s economic policies, new surveys show.

The decline in confidence is widespread — among Democrats and Republicans, high and low earners — and it suggests mounting danger for Mr. Trump and the economic expansion that he claims as a strong point of his presidency. Sustained drops in confidence often signal dampened consumer spending in the months ahead, and can be the precursor to broader economic downturns.

On Friday, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell to the lowest point of the Trump presidency, well below forecasters expectations. Analysts attributed the drop largely to the partial government shutdown that has entered its fifth week…

  • Gothamist posted an article titled: “Airport Safety Specialists Warn of Long-Term Risks From Shutdown”. From the article:

…On Thursday morning, about a dozen federal workers gathered together in LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal A parking lot, bearing picket signs that read, “Don’t Gamble With Aviation Safety.” They were speaking on behalf of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), which represents nearly 11,000 Federal Aviation Administration employee who have either been furloughed or are working without pay — workers who are responsible for things like navigational and communication equipment that airports use every day to maintain air safety…

…Many airline safety jobs entail 24-hour operations, which is usually bearable thanks to the overtime pay. But there’s no overtime pay during a shutdown, requiring fewer workers to put in longer hours for nothing. Under those conditions, it’s easy to see why some workers might quit and look for another job. But when it comes to airline safety, losing a single employee could have lasting consequences…

  • President Trump tweeted: “I will be making a major announcement concerning the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown, tomorrow afternoon at 3 P.M., live from the @ WhiteHouse.”

This blog was originally posted on Medium in two parts, one on January 12, 2019, and the other on January 16, 2019. Both blog were periodically updated as the shutdown continued.

A Timeline of the 2018-2019 Partial Government Shutdown – Week Four is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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