Jan 4, 2019 - Politics & Policy

The shutdown presidency


Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump significantly raised his rhetoric on the government shutdown today, vowing to keep it closed for "years" if needed and even invoking the idea of declaring a national emergency to build the wall.

Background: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday: "How many more times can we say no? Nothing for the wall."

The big picture: We're 14 days into a political fight, over roughly .1% of the federal budget, that has left hundreds of thousands without paychecks and some government functions largely paralyzed.

  • That includes tens of thousands of law enforcement officials, working without pay with no end in sight.

Between the lines: You've likely seen the viral horror stories of D.C. couples that can't get marriage licenses due to the shutdown and the broad human mess created by visitors to unmanaged national parks.

But as this shutdown goes longer, it will get worse. Among the affected:

  • Federal immigration courts, which will have to pick and choose which cases to handle, pushing some years down the road. [NYT]
  • The Interior Department, which can't pay out treaty rights obligations to Native American tribes.
  • The IRS, which won't pay out refunds or answer questions on taxes, even as tax season begins. [CNN]
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission, which is shut down while unicorn startups like Uber and Lyft prepare IPOs. [WashPost]
  • Housing and Urban Development: "Public housing officials say they don’t know how long rental assistance payments will keep coming ... a suspension could put millions of tenants at risk if the shutdown drags on into February." [NBC]

Go deeper: Hundreds of TSA agents reportedly call in sick after 14 days without pay

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