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Capitol Hill filled with dread as another shutdown looms

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As President Trump prepares to push America into the second government shutdown of 2019 over his proposed border wall, Democrats and Republicans alike are bracing for the inevitable — and widely dreaded — political storm.

Trump himself made it clear in a pair of Sunday tweets that he welcomes a government shutdown in order to receive his border wall.

“I don’t think the Dems on the Border Committee are being allowed by their leaders to make a deal. They are offering very little money for the desperately needed Border Wall & now, out of the blue, want a cap on convicted violent felons to be held in detention!” Trump tweeted.

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He followed that up by attempting to rub salt in recent wounds: “It was a very bad week for the Democrats, with the GREAT economic numbers, The Virginia disaster and the State of the Union address. Now, with the terrible offers being made by them to the Border Committee, I actually believe they want a Shutdown. They want a new subject!”

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney foreshadowed the same outcome during an appearance on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“Let’s say the hardcore left wing of the Democrat Party prevails in this negotiation and they put a bill on the president’s desk with, say, zero money for the wall, or $800 million, an absurdly low number,” Mulvaney explained. “How does he sign that?” He later continued:

The president really does believe that there is a national security crisis and a humanitarian crisis at the border, and he will do something about it. So whether or not he gets $1.6 billion from Congress, whether or not he gets $2.5 [billion] or $5.7 [billion], he’s going to do whatever he legally can to secure that border. There are pots of money where all presidents have access to without a national emergency. And there are ones that he will not have access to without that declaration.

Despite the president’s apparent glee at the prospect of a new  shutdown, congressional Republicans are less than thrilled by that prospect, according to CNN. The previous shutdown led to a perceived political victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, and drove Republicans’ overall approval ratings even lower. So most GOP leaders are understandably not eager to try that all over again. Furthermore, if Trump declares a national emergency to appropriate border wall funds instead of shutting down the government, Senate Republicans are concerned that would set a precedent future Democratic administrations could use to advance their own policy goals, such as gun control or fighting climate change.

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Democrats, on the other hand, don’t want to endanger the political advantages they gained from Pelosi’s triumphant stare-down with the president last time around. Trump evidently feels he needs to produce border-wall funding in order to placate his far-right base. If he drags on a shutdown into the indefinite future, Democrats run the risk that public perception of fault will eventually boomerang against everyone in Congress, not just the GOP.

At the same time, Democrats blame Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., a key GOP negotiator, for taking a hardline stance on the border wall issue. That may have steered Trump away from greater flexibility and a likely compromise, according to Politico.


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2020 Election

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s taxes handed Democratic lawmakers a powerful new weapon: law professor

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According to a law professor writing for Politico, Donald Trump earned a small victory this past week when the Supreme Court did not allow Congress to have his tax returns that prosecutors in New York will receive, but it did set a precedent for more Congressional power over the president that can be used in further conflicts.

In her column for Politico, Kimberly Wehle of the University of Baltimore School of Law, wrote that "Congress emerged with more clarity about its oversight powers, and how to enforce them, than it had before the Supreme Court weighed in," in its 7/2 decision.

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Trump campaign workers ducking wearing masks over fears of mockery: ‘You get made fun of’

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According to Politico, Trump campaign officials at the re-election headquarters in Arlington, Virginia are too embarrassed to follow the president's own CDC guidelines about wearing masks and practicing physical distancing — because the president himself has done so much to politicize the coronavirus pandemic.

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‘I think I made a mistake’: Patient who thought pandemic was a ‘hoax’ dies after going to ‘COVID party’

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According to WOAI, a patient in San Antonio, Texas in their 30s has died after going to a "COVID party" — a gathering of people who intentionally expose themselves to coronavirus to see for themselves whether the virus is real.

Per Methodist Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jane Appleby, the patient's final words to the nurse were, "I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not."

“It doesn’t discriminate and none of us are invincible,” warned Appleby. “I don’t want to be an alarmist and we’re just trying to share some real-world examples to help our community realize that this virus is very serious and can spread easily.”

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