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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.

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.

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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

Virginia was the bellwether of 2017’s big blue wave — but could it happen again?

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In November 2017, powered by a surge of grassroots activism one year after Donald Trump’s election, Democrats wiped out a Republican supermajority in the Virginia House of Delegates, and came within one disputed ballot and a random drawing of sharing power in a 50-50 chamber — an early harbinger of the 2018 blue wave. Now they’re back to finish the job, aiming to recapture control of both legislative chambers for the first time in 26 years and set the tone for the 2020 election.

Swing Left, a key player in flipping the House of Representatives last year, has targeted 15 races in the House of Delegates and five in the State Senate. Their main focus is people power, but they’ve also raised more than $550,000 in grassroots donations as of Sept. 11. Just two seats are needed to flip each chamber, and a court-ordered redistricting has made flipping the House much more doable.

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‘Did Obama know?’ Rudy Giuliani flings wild new accusations against Biden in overnight tweet rant

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President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani hurled accusations of Ukraine corruption at Joe Biden and his son in a series of middle-of-the-night tweets.

The president admitted Sunday to speaking to Ukraine's president about an investigation of Hunter Biden's business dealings with a natural gas company in the country, after a series of reports revealed his efforts to pressure that government to come up with dirt on the former vice president.

Early Monday morning, Giuliani accused Kiev of laundering $3 million to Hunter Biden and suggested the Obama administration was aware but did nothing, although the former New York City mayor offered no supporting evidence of those allegations.

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Chronically underpaid EMTs are being assaulted at record rates

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If Upton Sinclair were to write the modern equivalent to “The Jungle,” he might make the setting the metaphorical meat grinder of today’s emergency medical services industry.

Across the nation, emergency medical service professionals, the front-line workforce upon which so much of a patient outcome rests, are grossly underpaid for brutal work schedules that put them at risk of both serious physical injury and burnout.

The cherry on the top of this abuse sundae is that they are 14 times more likely to be violently assaulted on the job than a firefighter.

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