Jan 20, 2018

How a shutdown would affect the military

Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

A senior administration official said Friday night that 1.3 million military personnel in the U.S. and overseas wouldn‘t be paid until after a shutdown ends, in the event that the Senate does not pass a spending bill by midnight tonight.

Why it matters: The estimate is a way for the Trump administration to play up the most painful effects of a shutdown, which they would blame on the Democrats. President Trump tweeted on Thursday that a government shutdown "will be devastating to our military," and on Tuesday said "the biggest loser" in a shutdown "will be our rapidly rebuilding Military."

Senior administration officials also said that the president’s activities in an official capacity would not be restricted by a shutdown, as they are "based on his exercise of his constitutional responsibility."

  • Officials also said that work on Trump's budget would not be continued during a shut down.
  • IT and IT security services would continue operating by doing "what is necessary to protect either the IT systems or the information they house."
  • Generally, mandatory spending programs like Medicare and Social Security will continue uninterrupted.

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."