☕ Good Wednesday morning. Today is Day 33 of the government shutdown.
⚡ SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — "Democrat Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is forming an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Amazon has become a recurring symbol of economic inequality for newly emboldened progressive Democrats, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Despite its popularity with consumers, the company shows up in fundraising appeals, legislative rollouts, and statements by 2020 candidates:
CEO Jeff Bezos has acknowledged the scrutiny as a fact of life:
Beyond Sanders, Amazon’s critics include other 2020 Dems:
Be smart: Amazon polls very well. Democrats recently told Georgetown University researchers that they had more confidence in the company than any other institution — including universities, the military, Google and the FBI.
A new immigration idea has been circulating over the past 24 hours at senior levels inside the White House and on Capitol Hill: Give a path to green cards to the 700,000 current DACA recipients, three sources familiar with the conversations tell Jonathan Swan.
Why it matters: Nobody involved thinks that Trump's current offer has a prayer of getting the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate.
A Republican senator involved in the immigration debate said that Kushner "wants to go big." But the senator added: "Now's not the time to go big."
A source familiar with Kushner's congressional conversations said Kushner had not been pushing the green card idea, and said he was merely listening to members' ideas after the Trump proposal over the weekend spurred new debate inside both parties.
Kushner, who has been leading the White House's congressional negotiations with Vice President Pence, has been trying to "find where the market is for the president so he can get his priority while paying something that he can afford to pay for it," the source said.
President Trump is plunging ahead with plans for a State of the Union address on Tuesday — despite the letter by Speaker Pelosi urging that his speech be postponed, for security reasons, until after the government reopens.
If the traditional setting of the House chamber doesn't work out, the White House has a Plan B outside Washington, perhaps in the Southwest as a way of sending a message about immigration.
As to what the SOTU standoff says about the Trump-Pelosi relationship, the administration official said: "It's probably not the best start ... But I don't think it has to be indicative of what the next two years look like, either."
Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann tells NBC's Savannah Guthrie, in an interview airing this morning on "Today," that he "had every right" to stand in front of Nathan Phillips, but now wishes he and his classmates "would have walked away and avoided the whole thing."
N.Y. Times columnist Frank Bruni calls Covington "the Pundit Apocalypse":
And his fellow columnist David Brooks asks: "Will the Covington Catholic High School fiasco change social media?"
"[A] rising number of middle-class Americans are finding that home ownership is unaffordable," AP's Josh Boak reports:
New data: "In the past year, the availability of homes that a middle-class family could buy has declined in 86% of the largest metro areas, according to an analysis of 49 cities being released [today] by the real estate brokerage Redfin."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is "a man of institutions and establishments whose own legacy [is] now tied to that of a president who seems hellbent on burning both to the ground," Charles Homans, politics editor of The New York Times Magazine, writes in the coming issue:
"McConnell, who has represented Kentucky in the Senate for 34 years and ... is the longest-serving Republican leader in Senate history, is one of Washington’s most famously inexpressive creatures."
Key quote: "Far be it from me to complain about obstruction," McConnell said, permitting himself a chuckle. "But generally, when I’ve been involved in obstruction, there was a point to it."
The Trump administration is hoping to capitalize on popular outrage in Venezuela — along with burgeoning consensus among regional leaders opposed to the regime — to help loosen President Nicolas Maduro's grip on power, Axios' Dave Lawler (in Davos!) and Jonathan Swan report.
Rubio and Scott left the meeting hopeful that Trump would soon go one step further.
The backdrop: In the midst of a devastating economic recession that has forced 3 million Venezuelans to leave the country, Maduro was sworn in earlier this month for a new six-year term after a sham election.
Michael McCarthy, a research fellow at American University, says Maduro has survived perilous moments in the past, but "what’s different this time is he has just never dealt with headwinds this strong internationally."
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) added Netflix as its first streaming member.
Why it matters, from Axios' David McCabe: This is a major shift in the Washington influence battles, as the company looks to join traditional movie studios and leaves the Internet Association, which represents tech companies.
"Legendary New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous choice for the Baseball Hall of Fame," Dayn Perry writes for CBS Sports:
"Now that Rivera has quenched the drought, unanimous Hall of Famers should become more commonplace."