1-24-19 Democrats offer Trump a new deal to end the shutdown.

Democrats offer Trump a new deal to end the shutdown.

House Democratic leaders are now saying they would fund $5 billion in border security if Trump agrees to reopen the government.

Wait, isn’t that what Trump wanted in the first place?

Nope. Err, not exactly. Trump wants $5.7 billion for a wall, but this proposal doesn’t include funding for “new structures” along the border (i.e. Trump’s wall). Instead, the money would go toward things like updating existing structures and ports of entry. Guess we’ll see if Trump is serious about border security, or if he just wants to build a wall for the sake of building a wall.

Any other options on the table?

The Senate will vote today on two other proposals to reopen the government. One is Trump’s proposal to give temporary protection for immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion for his wall, which is almost guaranteed to fail. The other is a plan pitched by Democrats to fund the government through Feb. 8 and fight over wall funding in the meantime.

Anything else I should know about?

Trump pretty much dared Nancy Pelosi to cancel the State of the Union, so she did. He has now agreed to delay the address until the shutdown is over.



Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is running for president.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, IN, announced yesterday that he was entering the 2020 race by forming a presidential exploratory committee. If elected, the 37-year-old Navy Reserves veteran would become the first millennial president and the first openly gay president in the history of the United States.

Sorry, who’s this again?

Fair question. Buttigieg clearly doesn’t have the name recognition of some of the other candidates being talked about (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, etc.), but he did boost his national profile by running for chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2017.



Denver teachers vote to go on strike.

The same day a successful teacher strike ended in Los Angeles, Denver teachers voted to authorize a strike for the first time in 25 years. According to their union’s lead negotiator, “They’re striking for better pay. They’re striking for our profession. And they’re striking for Denver students.” The strike is could begin as soon as Monday.



Venezuela is cutting ties with the United States.

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro has given U.S. diplomats 72 hours to leave the country. The move comes after President Trump decided to back opposition leader Juan Guaidó — not Maduro — as the country’s legitimate interim president.

What’s going on in Venezuela?

Mass anti-government protests have broken out, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to demand that Maduro step down. Maduro has led the country since the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez in 2013, but his recent re-election has been tainted by mass boycotts and claims of vote rigging. More than a dozen countries (including the U.S.) have said they will not recognize Maduro’s presidency.

So who is Juan Guaidó?

He is the leader of Venezuela’s opposition party, Voluntad Popular (Popular Will). Yesterday, Guaidó declared himself the legitimate head of state of Venezuela. Canada has joined the U.S. in recognizing Guaidó’s presidency, while Russia has come out in support of Maduro.



The House Oversight Committee just became a whole lot more progressive.

Freshman representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ro Khanna have all been appointed to the committee.

What does the committee actually do?

The Committee on Oversight and Reform (that’s its full name) is the “the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.” In other words, it exists to keep the rest of the government in check.

Give me an example.

Just yesterday, the House Oversight Committee announced that it’s launching a “wide-ranging” investigation into White House security clearances. They want to find out “why the White House and Transition Team appear to have disregarded established procedures for safeguarding classified information.”



Ruth Bader Ginsburg is happy to hear 'RBG' received an Oscar nomination.

The film’s directors, who called to tell Ginsburg the news, say she “sounded strong and cheerful and said she is writing opinions and continuing to stay on top of work.”



Rep. Deb Haaland 'proudly' displays a trans flag outside her office.

Following Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision, the Democratic representative from New Mexico posted a photo of the flag to Twitter with the hashtag #ProtectTransTroops. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) also has a trans flag on display outside her congressional office.



House Dems want to raise the age for buying assault-style weapons.

They are introducing a bill to bring the minimum age up to 21. Even though the federal purchasing age for handguns is already 21, most states currently allow anyone of the age of 18 to buy assault-style firearms.



This mother was about to move into her dream home. Then the government shut down.

by Reed Redmond 

Ramona Wormley-Mitsis, a mother of two sons who have autism, was ready to move into her dream home. She had been waiting for years for an opportunity to move to a place like this — a three-bedroom home, complete with a white picket fence around the yard. The 39-year-old mother told the New York Times, “It is my dream home. It’s like my last stop; it’s like my last chance — you know?”

Wormley-Mitsis, who lives about an hour south of Boston, had been applying for years for a government subsidy to help cover rent. In December, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) finally approved a subsidy, giving her the means to move into her dream home. But right after she found out she would be receiving the subsidy, it was taken away.

As a result of the shutdown, HUD informed Wormley-Mitsis that the agency would not be able to subsidize her rent until the government reopened. Until then, Wormley-Mitsis and her two kids are staying with nearby relatives, hoping for a swift end to the shutdown. “We drive by that house all the time,” she said. “It’s torture. Waiting, waiting, waiting.”

Wormley-Mitsis and her family are not the only ones waiting. HUD has been hit hard by the shutdown, putting many of their rental assistance programs in jeopardy. Landlords still expect full payments to arrive on time, and in many cases, they rely on that money to keep the lights on and pay their employees. Some property managers are starting to threaten federally-subsidized tenants with eviction if they can’t cover the government’s usual share of their rent.

Diane Yentel, the CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), told CNBC that the homes of “nearly 70,000 low-income renters” are already at risk, and things are only going to get worse from here.

What can I do?

Take 15 seconds out of your day to sign this letter from the NLIHC demanding an end to the shutdown.

What else?

Call your members of Congress (here’s how), and support advocacy groups like the NLIHC and the National Housing Law Project.



The Leftovers:

The U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday has been identified as 32-year-old Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale. He was on his fourth overseas tour and third tour to Afghanistan.

Trump advisers want him to bench Rudy Giuliani. Trump allies also think Giuliani might be drinking before his TV appearances … which would explain a lot.

New York has moved to protect abortion rights on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it will now remain law in New York.

‘Art of the Deal’ co-author Tony Schwartz says Trump will end the shutdown over “his vanity” because he “desperately wants to give the State of the Union.”

The House has passed a bill expressing support for NATO. This sends a clear message to Trump, who been considering withdrawing the U.S. from the alliance.

Trump offered NASA “all the money you could ever need” to land on Mars during his presidency, according to a former official. Here’s an idea — Trump captains the ship.

Maryland colleges are offering financial help to students affected by the shutdown. At least 100 students at the College of Southern Maryland have taken advantage of the new policy allowing them to defer tuition payments.

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