Jan 4, 2019

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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The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health