Jan 25, 2019

Trump caves to Pelosi

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump created the longest government shutdown in U.S. history so he could get $5.7 billion for a border wall, and today he caved in exchange for $0.

Driving the news: Trump will sign a short-term deal that will open the government for three weeks. During that stretch, the House and Senate will go to conference to discuss border funding. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency," Trump said today.

The big picture: The president delivered nothing for his base and created financial instability for millions of others, uniting Democrats around House Speaker Pelosi, who emerged as his foil during the stretch.

  • Trump challenged her for wall funding ... and got nothing
  • He fought her on the State of the Union ... and got nothing
  • And he teased a national emergency ... but didn't do it

The other side: Some conservative senior administration officials are relieved at the continuing resolution.

  • A senior official tells Axios' Jonathan Swan he was worried Trump was so desperate for the wall funding that he’d be willing to give away almost anything on immigration in return. 

What's next: If the dealmaking fails, Trump will have to decide whether to risk shutting down the government in the middle of tax season, potentially prompting a return to the budding commercial air travel crisis.

  • 14,000 IRS workers reportedly didn't come to work during the shutdown, imperiling tax returns.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration slowed down flights to several major airports today, citing staffing issues.
  • And a flight attendants union threatened work stoppages today, which they could certainly resume if the shutdown returns.

The bottom line: See you February 15th!

Go deeper

Virginia governor announces removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that the state will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's historic Monument Avenue.

Why it matters: It's a watershed moment for Virginia, which has been at the center of a years-long national debate about whether Confederate monuments should be displayed publicly. That discussion reached a boiling point when protests about a statue of Lee in Charlottesville turned violent in 2017.

RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.