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DC Water board debates whether they can cut off White House service after Trump admin misses payment

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The District of Columbia’s Water authority board debated whether they can shut off water to the White House after the federal government missed its quarterly payment due to the president’s border wall shutdown.

WAMU, American University’s NPR station, reported Tuesday that DC Water officials noted during their first meeting of 2019 that they received an email from the Treasury Department announcing it won’t be paying for $5 million of the federal government’s $16.5 million water bill.

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“That brings up an interesting question,” DC Water board chairman Tommy Wells said at the January 3 meeting. “Is there a time from nonpayment when we cut someone’s water off?”

“1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” another board member asked, laughing. “Is that what you’re talking about?”

WAMU noted that DC law allows the water authority to “shut off water to a customer for nonpayment after 30 days” and place a lien on the property until a full payment is completed after 60 days.

“Conceivably, DC Water can shut off service for nonpayment to any customer,” DC Water spokesperson Vincent Morris told the NPR station. “We don’t do it very often, it’s a last resort, we never want to do it.”

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Morris added that in the case of the federal government, the General Services Administration — the same agency that found funds to reopen Old Post Office on the Trump DC hotel property — would be likely to pay those bills.

“It would probably be, just off the top of my head, approximately a year before it begins to be a real problem,” DC Water CFO Matthew Brown said at the meeting. “That would be a shortfall of about $20 million dollars, and we would have to have a conversation about how to move forward.”

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When WAMU asked Morris if the threat of shutting off water to the White House could be used as a bargaining chip, the spokesperson said it was an “interesting idea.”

“Water is leverage,” Morris said. “No one wants to go without it.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump unlikely to ask Democrats for help with recession, says analyst: ‘I’d also like a unicorn for my birthday’

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On Saturday, The New York Times examined what it might look like if President Donald Trump has to deal with a recession in 2020.

One of the grim takeaways was that Trump would likely be incapable of digging America out of the hole he had created — because he would be unable to overcome political rivalries to do so.

"You could get a widespread fiscal response to a recession," said Harvard Kennedy School senior fellow Megan Greene. "That would be really nice, but I'd also like a unicorn for my birthday."

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Mississippi sheriff busted for complaining Hispanic lawmaker is ‘worse than a black person’

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On Friday, the Atlanta Black Star reported that Jim Johnson, the sheriff of Lee County, Mississippi, made a racist comment about Hispanic GOP state Rep. Shane Aguirre while complaining about his opposition to the construction of a new county jail outside Tupelo.

Aguirre, Johnson told white Lee County Supervisor Phil Morgan in a 2017 text message first released Tuesday by the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, was "worse than a black person."

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2020 Election

Another blue wave? This expert says is just might happen

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In July 2018, the most widely respected analysts were decidedly uncertain whether the Democrats could retake the House.  On July 6, Cook Political Report, for example, listed 180 seats as "solid" for Democrats, with 12 likely/lean and 3 "toss-up or worse." If the Democrats won all of those and the 22 GOP-held seats described as "toss-ups" — they'd still be one seat short of a majority, at 217.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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