Jan 4, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon and welcome to the weekend.

1 big thing: The shutdown presidency

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump significantly raised his rhetoric on 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.

  • Trump today: "We can call a national emergency because of the security ... I haven't done it. I may do it but we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly."
  • 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 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]

P.S. Hundreds of TSA agents are reportedly calling out sick, CNN reports, citing agency and union officials.

  • "Call outs have increased by 200%-300% at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where typically 25 to 30 TSA employees call out from an average shift according to a local TSA official familiar with the situation."
  • "The mass call outs could inevitably mean air travel is less secure, especially as the shutdown enters its second week with no clear end to the political stalemate in sight."
Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Lights shine at a shuttered entrance station at Joshua Tree National Park.

  • The gate is normally staffed during the day but is now unstaffed 24 hours per day, allowing free entrance for all visitors. Campgrounds have been closed at the park and other services suspended during the partial government shutdown.
2. What you missed
  1. Boom: The economy added 312,000 jobs in December, topping the 180,000 that economists were expecting, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9%, a sign of increased labor force participation. Go deeper.
  2. And rally: The Dow closed up 749 points, or 3.29%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained 3.43% and 3.38%, respectively. Go deeper.
  3. Fed chair Jerome Powell said that he would not resign if asked by Trump. Go deeper.
  4. Pelosi stopped short today of endorsing calls for impeachment of Trump, saying it's a "very divisive approach" that shouldn't be taken "without the facts." Go deeper.
  5. A D.C. district judge has reportedly extended the federal grand jury being used by special counsel Robert Mueller by another 6 months, as its 18-month term was set to expire in the coming days. Go deeper.
3. 1 snack thing

"Students at University of the Pacific are about to have a futuristic dream come true: a robot that delivers you snacks," USA Today reports.

  • "The University of the Pacific will serve as a test site with three to five snackbots roaming across campus starting today, following several weeks of testing..."
  • "[PepsiCo VP Scott Finlow] said that, to PepsiCo's knowledge, its snackbot is the first autonomous robot developed by a consumer products company 'that is delivering products in the U.S.'"
Mike Allen