Weekend Reads: As shutdown drags, Trump administration seeks to soften blow - PressFrom - Canada
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Weekend ReadsAs shutdown drags, Trump administration seeks to soften blow

16:41  12 january  2019
16:41  12 january  2019 Source:   msn.com

Donald Trump's speech will make the shutdown worse

Donald Trump's speech will make the shutdown worse President Donald Trump will address the country at 9 p.m. ET tomorrow on the issue of immigration and, presumably, the ongoing fight over a border wall that has kept the federal government shut for the past 17 days. The specifics of what Trump says -- and whether all the networks give him the airtime to say it (CNN has already announced it will) -- is tough-ish to predict. But it will almost certainly fall into one of two buckets. Bucket 1: Trump announces he is declaring a state of emergency on the border, allowing him to use money allocated to the military to build a wall along the southern border.

Last week, Judge Emmet Sullivan blocked the Trump administration 's policy that makes it difficult for victims fleeing domestic and gang violence to qualify for asylum in the US and ruled that some people deported under the policy have to be returned. Similarly, Justice Department attorneys asked for

Trump said during an interview earlier on Thursday before departing for Texas that he would likely still be traveling to Davos for the annual conference of the world's political By canceling the trip, Trump is in effect signaling that he expects that the shutdown could drag on - possibly for a few more weeks.

WASHINGTON - The government shutdown is wreaking havoc on many Americans: Hundreds of thousands of federal employees don't know when they'll see their next paycheque, and low-income people who rely on the federal safety net worry about whether they'll make ends meet should the stalemate in Washington carry on another month.

But if you're a sportsman looking to hunt game, a gas company planning to drill offshore or a taxpayer awaiting your refund, you're in luck: This shutdown won't affect your plans.

All administrations get some leeway to choose which services to freeze and which to maintain when a budget standoff in Washington forces some agencies to shutter. But in the selective reopening of offices, experts say they see a willingness to cut corners, scrap prior plans and wade into legally dubious territory to mitigate the pain. Some noted the choices seem targeted at shielding the Republican-leaning voters whom Trump and his party need to stick with them.

Canadian Air Traffic Controllers Buy Pizza For American Colleagues Affected By U.S. Government Shutdown

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Trump and congressional Democrats are in a battle over funding for the government and Trump 's long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. "Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very

And if the partial shutdown drags on long enough, it could force Trump to cancel a late-January trip “There is no question that an extended shutdown will harm the administration ’s regulatory reform The shutdown is hampering one of Trump ’s proudest achievements, the effort by agencies such as

The cumulative effect is a government shutdown — now officially the longest in U.S. history — that some Americans may find financially destabilizing and others may hardly notice.

Russell T. Vought, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the overarching message from Trump has been "to make this shutdown as painless as possible, consistent with the law."

"We have built on past efforts within this administration not to have the shutdown be used to be weaponized against the American people," he said.

Others say such a strategy suggests a lack of urgency and a willingness to let the political impasse in Washington drag on indefinitely.

"The strategy seems to be to keep the shutdown in place, not worry about the effect on employees and furloughed people and contractors, but where the public might be annoyed, give a little," said Alice Rivlin, who led OMB during the 21-day shutdown in 1996, the previous recordholder for the longest in history.

Trump Summons Thousands Back to Work Without Pay as Shutdown Drags On

Trump Summons Thousands Back to Work Without Pay as Shutdown Drags On As the White House tries to get the government functioning, President Trump invited Democrats to the White House, hoping to find cracks. They rejected his lunch date.

Schumer calls Trump 'dysfunctional' as government shutdown enters day two – video. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Schumer’s House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats were seeking a commitment that a bill to reopen the government would establish parity between

Trump administration officials said Tuesday that the Agriculture Department will be able to pay out food stamp benefits for the entire month of February — tamping down fears that the partial government shutdown could have resulted in rationing or halting of benefits.

That's a clear difference between then and now, Rivlin said.

As shutdown drags, Trump administration seeks to soften blow© Provided by thecanadianpress.com President Donald Trump, center left, leads a roundtable discussion on border security with local leaders, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

"We weren't trying to make it better. We were trying to emphasize the pain so it would be over," she said. "We wanted it to end. I'm not convinced the Trump administration does."

The Trump administration earlier this week announced that the IRS will issue tax refunds during the shutdown, circumventing a 2011 decision barring the agency from distributing refunds until the Treasury Department is funded.The National Treasury Employees Union filed a lawsuit, arguing its workers are being unconstitutionally forced to return to work without pay.

Some agencies are finding creative ways to fund services they want to restore.

Cardi B Blasts Trump And Government Shutdown

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President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that the country needs a "good ' shutdown ,'" as well advocated for changing Senate rules, in a pair of tweets where he complained about the congressional negotiating process.

Trump administration . 9 January 2019. Deputy US attorney general to leave DoJ after Trump ’s nominee to lead the department is set to take over, officials told media. 'It's a nightmare': Americans' health at risk as shutdown slashes EPA.

The administration has emphasized continued use of public lands in general, and particularly for hunters and oil and gas developers, angering environmental groups. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, using funds leftover from 2018, this week announced it will direct dozens of wildlife refuges to return staffers to work, ensuring planned activities on those lands, including organized hunts, continue.

Barbara Wainman, a spokeswoman for the agency, said most refuges have remained accessible to hunters throughout the shutdown, and the decision to staff them was made based on three criteria: resource management, high visitation and previously scheduled programming, which includes organized hunts and school field trips. Wainman said 17 of the 38 refuges have scheduled hunts that would have been cancelled without the restaffing effort.

The IRS is using user fees to restore the income verification program, used by mortgage lenders to confirm the income of a borrower and considered a critical tool for the banking industry. After national parks were left open but unstaffed, causing damage to delicate ecosystems, the National Park Service announced it would take "an extraordinary step" and use visitation fees to staff some of the major parks. And despite the shutdown, the Bureau of Land Management is continuing work related to drilling efforts in Alaska.

Melania Trump takes government jet to Mar-a-Lago after Pelosi's trip scuttled, reports say

Melania Trump takes government jet to Mar-a-Lago after Pelosi's trip scuttled, reports say There's no shutting down Melania Trump. The First Lady and First Son Barron landed in Florida Thursday, where ABC says the two are weekending at the President's private club Mar-A-Lago. Hours earlier, Politico's Jake Sherman tweeted Melania was departing Andrews Air Force base on a government jet. The day was otherwise filled with cancelled travel plans as the Federal government's partial shutdown rolled into its record-breaking 27th day. President Trump shot down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's upcoming trip abroad in an open-letter Thursday claiming that during the shutdown, her travels to visit American troops overseas would be inappropriate.

Trump and congressional Democrats are in a battle over funding for the government and Trump 's long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border. "Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very

Trump administration officials said Friday night that they plan to make the government shutdown far less painful than the 2013 lapse that came on former The administration has leeway, for instance, to keep the Merchant Marine Academy running. And this time, the Labor Department plans to have more

Trump has refused to sign spending bills for nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments until Congress approves his request for $5.7 billion in funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats have refused. The president initially said he would be "proud" to own the partial shutdown, but he quickly shifted blame onto Democratic leaders and has flirted with taking some extraordinary measures to find money for the wall. Although most Republicans have stood by the president, others have expressed discomfort with the strategy.

The focus on services that reach rural voters, influential industries and voters' pocketbooks is intended to protect Republicans from blowback, said Barry Anderson, who served as assistant director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1988 to 1998.

During the 1996 shutdown, Anderson said, he and others met each day to review which offices and services should be deemed essential. He said tax refunds never made the cut.

"A government agency may employ services in advance of appropriations only when there's a reasonable connection between the functions being performed and the safety of human life or protection of property," he said. "How does issuing tax refunds fall under either of those categories? It's not a human life or property issue. I don't know the proper word: surprised, aghast, flabbergasted.

The Latest: Trump to make announcement Saturday on shutdown

The Latest: Trump to make announcement Saturday on shutdown The Latest: Trump to make announcement Saturday on shutdown

President Trump is threatening a government shutdown over funds for a border wall, attacking key In a challenge to Republicans late Tuesday, Mr. Trump threatened to shut down the government in Mr. McConnell on Wednesday sought to play down the friction between himself and the president

In United States politics, a government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass sufficient appropriation bills or continuing resolutions to fund federal government operations and agencies

"This," he said, "is to keep Republican senators' phones silent."

OMB has held regular conference calls with agencies and is fielding a high volume of requests for services they'd like to resume. In addition, OMB officials are intentionally working to legally reopen as much of the government as possible, according to a senior administration official, adding that agencies are permitted to update their lapse plans as the shutdown progresses. The official was not authorized to discuss the internal discussions publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Across the government, agencies are scrambling. The Food and Drug Administration has scaled back on food inspections. The Department of Agriculture recently announced that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food aid to nearly 40 million low-income Americans, will continue to operate through February because of a loophole in the short-term spending bill, which expired Dec. 22. But should the shutdown stretch into March, the department's reserves for the program, $3 billion, won't cover a month of benefits for all who need them. Other feeding programs, such as school lunch, food distribution and WIC, which provides nutrition aid to pregnant women, mothers and babies, are also in jeopardy should the shutdown last until March.

Hundreds of federal contracts for low-income Americans receiving housing assistance are expiring. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is unable to renew them and has instead directed private owners to dip into their reserves to cover shortfalls.

As time goes on, more and more programs will become vital, said Linda Bilmes, a public policy professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the meaning of what's essential will shift.

"Even apart from the fact that there may be particular instances of things that are being manipulated for political purposes," she said, "there are also realities that government agencies are facing as they reassess what is absolutely essential to do now that we're here, with no immediate end in sight."

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For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. government shutdown: https://apnews.com/GovernmentShutdown

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