A Timeline of the 2018–2019 Partial Government Shutdown — Week Three

Photo by Artem Bali from Pexels

The 2018–2019 partial government shutdown went into a third week.

Want to know what happened before week three? You may want to read my post about week one of the partial government shutdown, and/or my post about what happened during week two.

January 5, 2019: Day 15 of the Partial Shutdown

  • President Donald Trump tweeted: “The Democrats could solve the Shutdown problem in a very short period of time. All they have to do is approve REAL Border Security (including a Wall), something which everyone, other than drug dealers, human traffickers and criminals, want very badly! This would be so easy to do!”
  • President Donald Trump tweeted: “I don’t care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats, I want to stop the Shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on Strong Border Security! I am in the White House ready to go, where are the Dems?”
  • AlJazeera posted an article titled: “Talks to resume after Trump says shutdown could last ‘years’”. From the article:
White House officials and congressional staffers will continue to negotiations on Saturday over the government shutdown, even after President Donald Trump declared he could keep it going for “months or even years.”…
…Trump has designated Vice President Mike Pence, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and adviser Jared Kushner to work with a congressional delegation at a meeting set for 11am (16:00 GMT) Saturday…
  • NPR posted an article titled: “No Deal To End Government Shutdown As Negotiations Continue in Washington”. From the article:
There were no breakthroughs in meetings Saturday between Congressional leadership and White House officials as both sides worked to reach an agreement to end the government shutdown, which is entering its third week.
A sticking point remains President Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build a border wall. Democrats say they will not agree to any additional money for a wall, and that the government should re-open while negotiations continue…
…Vice President Mike Pence, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and senior presidential advisor Jared Kushner were among the officials at Saturday’s meeting. Pence maintained that funding for the border wall is needed, and that the White House will not budge in its request for funding for the wall…
…Congressional staff and White House officials will meet again on Sunday afternoon to try and hammer out a deal…
  • President Donald Trump tweeted: “V.P. Mike Pence and team just left the White House. Briefed me on their meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives. Not much headway made today. Second meeting set for tomorrow. After so many decades, must finally and permanently fix the problems on the Southern Border!”
  • Nancy Pelosi posted a statement on the official Speaker of the House website:
“While President Trump threatens to keep the government shut down for ‘years,’ Democrats are taking immediate further action to re-open government, so that we can meet the needs of the American people, protect our borders and respect our workers.
“Next week, House Democrats will begin passing individual appropriations bills to re-open all government agencies, starting with the appropriations bill that covers the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service. This action is necessary so that the American people can receive their tax refunds on schedule. The certainty of the tax returns of hard-working families should no longer be held hostage to the President’s reckless demands. This bill will then go to the Senate where it has already been passed with overwhelming bipartisan support…
  • The Hill posted an article titled: “OPM directs agencies to halt scheduled pay raises for Pence, top officials”. From the article:
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has reportedly directed federal agencies to halt pay raises scheduled to go into effect today for Vice President Pence, members of the president’s Cabinet and other top administration officials.
A reporter for The Washington Post tweeted Saturday that OPM made the decision Friday evening following news reports detailing the raises, which were unintended consequences of the weeks-long partial shutdown of the federal government…
  • ABC News posted an article titled: “President Trump, senior White House staff to head to weekend retreat at Camp David”. From the article:
President Trump and his senior staff are headed on a group vacation — all at the direction of new acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
White House senior officials will spend the weekend at Camp David in Hauvers, Maryland, a rural retreat for the office of president.
Trump will visit the retreat and lead meetings, but only on Sunday…
…It is not clear which staffers will be making the hike, though Vice President Mike Pence, son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will not be visiting. The three will instead continue to negotiate with congressional leaders in a bid to end the partial government shutdown, which enters its 15th day on Saturday…
  • CNET posed an article titled: “CES becomes latest victim of US government shutdown”. From the article:
Just before the world’s biggest tech show kicks off in a few days, organizers are warning that several speakers will be canceling due to an ongoing US government shutdown.
The annual Consumer Electronics Show is expected to bring nearly 200,000 tech enthusiasts and leaders to Las Vegas, with the show kicking off Sunday. But on Saturday, Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Technology Association, which runs the show, sent out a short statement warning that a number of speakers who work for the US government had to cancel their appearances.
Sarah Brown, a CTA spokeswoman, said 10 speakers have canceled so far. Those speakers come from the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Communications Commission and several other agencies. She aded that there are no current plans to replace those speakers with other programming…
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer posted an article titled: “Muslim youth clean up Independence Mall amid government shutdown”. From the article:
With rakes, brooms, and trash pickers in hand, more than a dozen young Muslim men took to Independence Mall on Saturday in the rain to clean up litter. It was their way of lessening the impact of the partial government shutdown, they said.
Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, the Mall’s most famous occupants, have been closed to the public for the majority of the time since the shutdown began Dec. 22. That hasn’t stopped passerby — including tourists catching a glimpse of the Liberty Bell from outside its windowed housing — from leaving their cigarette butts, gum wrappers, and other items of trash behind, or the wind, for that matter, from blowing some of the city’s discards there…

The article says the Muslim youth who volunteered in Saturday’s cleanup are members of Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, a national organization for Muslim youths with more than 50 chapters around the country.

  • The Los Angeles Times posted an article titled: “Shutdown spares federal park rangers at site in Trump’s Washington hotel”. From the article:
Smithsonian museums are closed. There are no federal staffers to answer tourists’ questions at the Lincoln Memorial. And across the United States, national parks are cluttered with trash. Yet despite the federal government shutdown, a historic clock tower at the Trump International Hotel remained open for its handful of visitors, staffed by green-clad National Park Service rangers…
…The Trump administration appears to have gone out of its way to keep the attraction in the federally owned building that houses the Trump hotel open and staffed with National Park Service rangers, even as other federal agencies shut all but the most essential services.
Amanda Osborn, a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration, which owns the building and leases it to the Trump Organization, said in an email that the shutdown exemption for the comparatively little-known clock tower was “unrelated to the facility’s tenant” — the Trump business. The agency says the law that put it in charge of the site obligates it to keep it open, even as federal Washington closes around it.
But the scene at the modest historic site at the Trump hotel building, where rangers often outnumber visitors, marked the latest episode in which President Trump’s business interests have overlapped with the work of the federal government, creating at least the appearance of a conflict of interest…
  • Senator Chris Van Hollen (Democrat — Maryland) tweeted: “Senate Democrats should block consideration of any bills unrelated to opening the government until Sen. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans allow a vote on the bipartisan bills the House passed to open the government. Mitch, don’t delay. Let’s vote!”
  • Senator Ben Cardin (Democrat — Maryland) tweeted his agreement with Senator Chris Van Hollen’s tweet: “Agreed. This isn’t business as usual. This is a crisis, a fundamental failure to govern, and Americans are suffering for it. The Senate should not take up any bills unrelated to reopening the government until @ SenateMajLdr lets us vote on exactly that. #Shutdown”
  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Dad and 10-year-old daughter embark on ‘Government Shutdown Litter Patrol’ instead of hiking”. From the article:
A father and daughter in Tennessee embarked on a “Government Shutdown Litter Patrol” to help clean a local national park earlier this week as parks continue to grapple with overflowing trash due to limited staffing amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.
Marc Newland and his daughter Erica were getting ready to go on their usual weekly hike on Thursday when Newland said his 10-year-old decided their quality time would be best spent collecting litter instead, a local ABC station reported…
…Newland said in a Facebook post detailing the cleanup hike that he and his daughter headed to the Laurel Falls trail with trash bags and pickers in hand for one of their stops and “before we knew it, our bags were full.”…
…The duo also challenged other “hikers to take one day off from getting in miles and impressive vista pics and instead, give back by grabbing a trash bag, heading to the park and collecting some litter!”…
Approximately 800,000 federal employees are working without pay or still furloughed
Government contractors are operating at a standstill. Their employees are unable to work, and they won’t receive retroactive pay like federal employees have in the past.
The shutdown is delaying IRS preparations for tax filing season. If the shutdown lasts beyond January, more than $140 billion in tax refunds could be frozen or delayed. In addition, Americans currently can’t access walk-in taxpayer assistance centers and all taxpayer customer service. Individuals are unable to access return forms necessary for mortgages and lending.
If the shutdown lasts beyond January, nutrition assistance will be reduced by 40%, affecting nearly 40 million individuals and families across the country.
The Food and Drug Administration’s ability to ensure the safety of some medical product, animal drug, and most food related activities is significantly undermined as well as their ability to conduct inspections.
The Federal Housing Administration is not processing loans and mortgage approvals.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Real Estate Assessment Center is not conducting inspections of rental units to ensure housing is safe and sanitary.
Agriculture subsidies from USDA have run out of funds, leaving farmers without loans for rural development.

January 6, 2019: Day 16 of the Partial Shutdown

  • The Washington Post posted an article titled: “Trump meets with staff at Camp David as shutdown enters third week”. From the article:
With the partial government shutdown dragging into its third week, President Trump on Sunday met with White House staff at Camp David, where the president’s long-promised border wall was among the topics on the agenda.
The meetings came one day after Vice President Pence, top White House officials and senior congressional aides emerged empty-handed after more than two hours of negotiations on ending the stalemate…
…In a bid to force the Democrat’s hand, Trump has said that he is considering declaring an emergency to begin wall construction without congressional approval. The legality of such a move is unclear, however, and the president would almost certainly face immediate legal challenge in the courts.
Trump also said Sunday that he understood the predicament facing hundreds of thousands of federal workers who are not receiving their paychecks…
…And he further backed away from the notion of a concrete wall, telling reporters that he informed his staff to now say “steel barrier.” During the 2016 campaign, Trump often pledged to build a concrete wall, but on Sunday, he argued that steel slats “will be less obstructive and stronger.”…
…While Trump was meeting with staff at Camp David, Pence met again with congressional leadership staff on Sunday afternoon. Trump, whose shifting messages during the shutdown have vexed Democrats as well as members of his own party, told reporters ahead of the Pence meeting that he didn’t “expect anything to happen” at those talks but that “we’re going to have some very serious talks come Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”…
  • President Trump tweeted: “V.P. Mike Pence and group had a productive meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives today. Many details of Border Security were discussed. We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the U.S.A.”
  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Collins: Senate should vote on funding bills passed in House”. From the article:
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Sunday that she would support holding a Senate vote on bills passed in the House to reopen parts of the government unrelated to negotiations over funding for President Trump’s wall along the southern border.
Collins said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she understands Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) is in a difficult spot because the president may not sign bills passed by the Democratic-held House, but pressed for a vote to reopen agencies like Agriculture, Interior, Transportation and Housing, and Urban Development….
…Collins argued that Congress should pass appropriations bills before the end of the fiscal year to avoid the threat of a shutdown being used as a political weapon…
  • ABC 7 Eyewitness News posted an article titled: “US food stamp program could run out of funding if shutdown continues”.
The partial government shutdown could soon impact the millions of Americans who rely on the nation’s food stamp program.
The program is run by the US Department of Agriculture, which is one of the agencies that has been unfunded during the shutdown.
Congress recently issued $3 billion of emergency funds for the program.
However experts say the funding could run out sometime next month…
  • The Hill posted an article titled: “House panel to ‘demand answers’ for Interior’s move to use visitor fees to keep parks open”. From the article:
The House National Resources Committee intends to investigate the Trump administration’s decision to dip into visitor fees to keep parks open, the panel’s chairman warned Sunday.
Rep. Raúl Grijalava (D-Ariz.) said that his committee — which oversees Interior — has plans to look into the legality of the decision, saying the shutdown has done “terrible damage” to the U.S….
…The National Park Service (NPS) announced to staff Sunday a plan to dip into “entrance, camping, parking and other fees collected from park visitors” to pay staff to assist in urgent maintenance needs at a number of national parks overburdened by visitors during the recent government shutdown…

USA Today posted an article titled: “‘The goal is not to open up the government’: Sen. Graham says no shutdown end without wall”. From the article:

The White House has said it is willing to extend the partial government shutdown, now in its third week, for months and even years to secure funding for a southern border wall.
And one of President Donald Trump’s most ardent advocates in the Senate amid his battle with congressional Democrats also appeared ready to accept a long-term shutdown to achieve the president’s goal.
“I do want to open up the government, but the goal is not to open up the government,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” when asked if he would support opening up the government before continuing negotiations.
“The goal is to fix a broken immigration system to bring reality to this table, the South Carolina Republican said. And after speaking to Trump, Graham said, “it was pretty clear to me that we’re never going to have a deal unless we get a wall as part of it.”
House Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D.-Calif., have said they will not negotiate on border security funding until the government is reopened…
  • NBC News posted an article titled: “Hard to digest: Inmates eat holiday steak during shutdown while prison workers go unpaid”. From the article:
The partial government shutdown created a delicious irony at federal prisons — inmates dining on lavish meals in front of disgruntled staffers forced to work without pay…
…Inmates at FCI Pekin in Illinois enjoyed a fancy meal of steak and shrimp on Jan. 1. Cornish hen and Boston Creme pie were on the menu at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. And the prisoners at a federal institution in Minnesota munched on heaping plates of chicken wings, according to staffers and documents obtained by NBC News…
…In addition to working without pay, many of the prison staffers, including correctional officers, were ordered to cut vacations short or face a loss in wages and possible administrative punishment, including suspensions.
Adding to the staffers’ bitter feelings, the working inmates were still drawing government paychecks for their prison jobs, which include painting buildings, cooking meals and mowing lawns…
…The Bureau of Prisons said in a statement that holiday meals are “planned weeks in advance, including as happened here in advance of the government shutdown.”…
  • ABC News posted an article titled: “House Armed Services Committee chair says President Donald Trump can declare national emergency.” From the article:
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington, said President Donald Trump does have the authority to call a national emergency over border security, but is “wide open” to facing a court challenge.
“Unfortunately, the short answer is yes. There is a provision in law that says the president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times. But primarily it’s been done to build facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Smith told George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” on Sunday. “In this case, I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge saying, ‘where is the emergency?’ You have to establish that in order to do this. But beyond that, this would be a terrible use of Department of Defense dollars.”
Smith also said he will use his position as the new chair of the Armed Services Committee to examine whether President Trump has politicized the military on the issue of border security.
“I don’t think you should use the military to advance your agenda,” Smith said. “The main thing I want to focus on in the hearings that we have coming up once we get our committee set is transparency and oversight. You know, why did the president send 5,600 troops — active duty troops to the border? What was the purpose of it?”…
  • IndyStar posted an article titled: “Restaurant owner Neal Brown offers free meals to those affected by government shutdown”. From the article:
Indianapolis restauranteur Neal Brown is offering free meals to anyone affected by the shutdown, which Sunday hit the 16-day mark. That’s tied for the third-longest on record.
In a New Year’s Day Facebook post, Brown wrote “If you know someone affected by the Gov. shutdown, let me know. We’ll feed them for free until they get paid again.”
Brown said the offer stands at any of his Indianapolis-area restaurants, including The Libertine Liquor Bar on Mass Ave., Japanese sushi bar Ukiyo on College Ave. and Pizzology in Carmel. It also extends to immediate family members of affected individuals…

January 7, 2019: Day 17 of the Partial Shutdown

  • President Donald Trump tweeted: “Congressman Adam Smith, the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, just stated, “Yes, there is a provision in law that says a president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times.” No doubt, but let’s get our deal done in Congress!”

This is significant because, earlier in the partial shutdown, (during week two), The Wall Street Journal reported:

…Mr. Trump also said he is considering using executive authority to build a wall, though he prefers to negotiate with Congresss. “It’s called a national emergency,” he said, asserting he had that power. It wasn’t immediately clear how such a move would be funded…
  • The House Armed Services Committee (which controls oversight and funding of the Department of Defense, the United States Armed Forces, and portions of the Department of Energy) tweeted in response to President Trump’s tweet:

“There is no national emergency. Declaring one would be wrong and horrible policy. Don’t take 5.6 billion dollars from our troops for a wall we do not need. And remember that the estimated cost for Trump’s wall is $20–30B. $5.6B is just a down payment.”

  • The New York Times posted an article titled: “Trump Wants to Deliver Prime Time Address on Government Shutdown and Will Visit the Border”. From the article:
President Trump wants to address the nation about the government shutdown on Tuesday night, and later in the week plans to travel to the southern border as part of his effort to persuade Americans of the need for a border wall — the sticking point in negotiations with Democrats who are eager to reopen shuttered government agencies.
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about a request to television networks to carve out time for an Oval Office address. A person familiar with the request said the White House had asked to interrupt prime time programming on Tuesday…
  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted: “President @ realDonaldTrump will travel to the Southern border on Thursday to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis. More details will be announced soon.”
  • President Donald Trump tweeted: “I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security Crisis on our Southern Border. Tuesday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.”
  • CBS News posted an article titled: “White House asks for billions of dollars to fund border operations”. From the article:
As negotiations between lawmakers to reopen the government continue to be locked in a stalemate, the White House is standing firm on its $5.7 billion demand to construct a “steel barrier: along the U.S.-Mexico frontier. It is also asking for billions of dollars in additional funding for immigration judges and border security.
The administration’s negotiating team, led by Vice President Mike Pence, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, have provided Democrats with an outline of their demands for a deal to end the partial shutdown.
In addition to President Trump’s unwavering $5.7 billion request for border funds, the White House is demanding $563 million for 75 additional immigration judges and support staff, $211 million to hire 750 additional Border Patrol officers, $571 million to deploy 2,000 law enforcement personnel, $4.2 billion for 52,000 detention beds, $675 million for inspection technology at points of entry, and $800 million for “humanitarian needs,” which will include funds for medical support, transportation, supplies and temporary facilities along the southwestern border…
  • TIME posted an article titled: “This Is Now The Third-Longest Government Shutdown in U.S. History”. From the article:
As of Monday, the federal government has been partially shut down for 16 days, making it tied for the third-longest shutdown in U.S. history.
The other shutdown lasted 16 days took place from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 17, 2013. There have been 21 government shutdowns since Congress began using the modern budgeting process in 1976. Some of them have lasted just a few days, or even a few hours — as was the case last February — and haven’t really affected government operations…
  • The IRS posted information on its website titled: “IRS Confirms Tax Filing Season to Begin January 28”. From the information:
Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service today confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds as scheduled…
…Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation… and the IRS has consistently been of the view that it has the authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations. Although in 2011 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed the IRS not to pay refunds during a lapse, OMB has reviewed the relevant law at Treasury’s request and concluded that IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse.
The IRS will be recalling a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work. Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released publicly in the coming days…
…As in the past, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.
The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers…
  • The New York Times posted an article titled: “Tax Refunds Will Be Issued During Shutdown, Trump Official Says”. From the article:
The Trump administration will direct the Internal Revenue Service to issue tax refunds during the ongoing federal government shutdown, reversing previous policy, officials said Monday.
“Tax refunds will go out,” Russell T. Vought, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters in an afternoon briefing.
In a late-afternoon call with the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration will call back a significant number of I.R.S. employees from furlough, in order to issue refunds. Mr. Mnuchin also told Mr. Neal that the I.R.S. would open the tax filing season on time at the end of January, and that enough employees would return to work to allow the I.R.S. to answer 60 to 70 percent of phone calls seeking tax assistance.
The employees will not be paid until the shutdown ends…
  • CBS News posted an article titled: “Trump to make prime time address on border security”. From the article:
President Trump will make a prime time address Tuesday night from the Oval Office about border security, as the partial government shutdown over his border wall continues into its third week. It will be his first prime time address from the Oval Office.
CBS News will air the president’s address, scheduled for 9 p.m. ET…
  • NBC News posted an article titled: “To air or not to air: Networks face pressure over broadcasting Trump’s immigration address”. From the article:
…As of early Monday evening, CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC had decided to air Trump’s address, according to sources familiar with the decisions who were not allowed to speak publicly. Late Monday, PBS and Telemundo confirmed plans to broadcast Trump’s remarks. The major cable news channels — MSNBC, CNN and Fox News — were also planning to air the speech…
…The four major networks have not had a consistent policy when it comes to airing presidential addresses on immigration. They aired President George W. Bush’s prime-time address on immigration in 2006, but did not air one by President Barack Obama in 2014…
  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Networks to air Trump prime-time address live on Tuesday”. From the article:
All major networks Monday confirmed that they will air President Trump’s Oval Office address on the government shutdown live, after some initial uncertainty over how the organizations would handle the speech.
CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News, Fox Business and CNN all confirmed to The Hill that the prime-time speech will air on their channels Tuesday night. CNN reported that local Fox stations and MSNBC also intend to carry the address live.
CBS said in a statement to The Hill that the address will start at 9:01:30 p.m., and the White House informed the network it will last no longer than eight minutes…
  • The National Governors Association wrote a letter calling for a swift resolution to the government shutdown. The letter was written to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Minority Leader-designate of the House Kevin McCarthy. From the letter:
…On behalf of the nation’s governors, we urge you to find a compromise and immediately end the partial government shutdown. A federal government shutdown is a failure in governance and a weight on our economy and the American people.
As we enter the 17th day since the lapse in appropriations, it is imperative that you re-open the government now and, then, reach across the aisle to find a solution that will end the current impasse. Every day, governors must work with our state legislatures, local governments, and stakeholders throughout our states to find common ground, and we believe Congress and the President must do the same…

Variety posted an article titled: “Jimmy Kimmel Promises to Put to Work Federal Employees Impacted by Trump’s Government Shutdown”. From the article:

Jimmy Kimmel marked Day 17 of the government shutdown by inviting one of the nearly 800,000 federal employees working without pay to get a paycheck — by working on Kimmel’s late-night talk show.
“It’s unfortunate that these people, these workers, have nothing to do with this ridiculous wall, aren’t getting paychecks, especially right after the holidays,” Kimmel said at the start of Monday’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on ABC.
Wanting to do his part, Kimmel vowed to put a federal employee to work on his show every night until the shutdown ends. The first he welcomed was John Kostelnik, a prison guard and union president at the Federal Correction Complex in Victorville, Calif….
…Kostelinik also said that he, along with the rest of the government employees not currently drawing paychecks, “hope” they will see their money eventually, at the end of the shutdown. But for now, Kimmel handed Kostelnik a tambourine and put him in the show’s band, depite Kostelnik saying he does not play any musical instruments…

January 8, 2019: Day 18 of the Partial Shutdown

  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement titled “Pelosi, Schumer Joint Statement on the President’s Tuesday Evening Address”. From the joint statement:
…“Democrats and an increasing number of Republicans in Congress have repeatedly urged the President and Leader McConnell to end the Trump Shutdown and re-open the government while Congress debates the President’s expensive and ineffective wall. Unfortunately, President Trump keeps rejecting the bipartisan House-passed bills, which have already received strong bipartisan support in the Senate, to re-open the government. Instead, he is still demanding that American taxpayers pay at least $5.7 billion for his wall, which can’t pass either chamber of Congress and of course Mexico is not paying for it.
“Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime…
  • NPR posted an article titled: “Democrats Set to Counter Trump After Oval Office Address”. From the article:
Democrats and President Trump are launching an aggressive public relations campaign in hopes of winning popular support as the 18-day partial government shutdown drags on with no resolution in sight…
…Top Senate and House Democratic and Republican leaders were invited to a meeting at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the shutdown, according to multiple congressional sources. Trump and Vice President Pence are also set to speak with Senate Republicans on Wednesday…
…Trump will begin with a speech from the Oval Office on what he describes as a crisis on the border with Mexico. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will then respond from the Capitol, in part they say to correct the record after Trump speaks…
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer posted an article titled: “Federal workers rally in Philly to protest shutdown”. From the article:
About 200 federal employees, union leaders, and supporters rallied in front of the Liberty Bell on Tuesday morning to protest the partial government shutdown and pay freeze.
They carried bare-bones signs made from torn pieces of cardboard — “I’d rather be working for the greater good,” one read — and spoke of not being able to pay their bills, of feeling like pawns, of feeling disrespected…
…The rally was organized by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) which represents about 10,000 workers in Philadelphia, including Transportation Security Administration agents, Department of Housing and Urban Development employees and correctional officers, and the National Treasure Employees Union (NTEU) representing more than 5,000 employees locally…
…Another protest by federal unions is planned for Thursday morning in Washington outside AFL-CIO headquarters, and the NTEU plans to bus members to D.C….
  • Reuters posted an article titled: “A growing number of Americans blame Trump for shutdown: Reuters-Ipsos poll”. From the article:
…The national opinion poll, which ran from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7, found that 51 percent of adults believe Trump “deserves most of the blame” for the shutdown, which entered its 18th day on Tuesday. That’s up 4 percentage points from a similar poll that ran from Dec. 21 to 25.
Another 32 percent blame congressional Democrats for the shutdown, and 7 percent blame congressional Republicans, according to the poll. Those percentages are mostly unchanged from the previous poll…
…It also found only 35 percent of adults in the United States support a congressional spending bill that includes funding for the wall, and 25 percent support Trump’s decision to keep the government closed until Congress approves funding for the wall.
Republicans, however, strongly support Trump’s pursuit of an expanded border wall. They have consistently ranked immigration as their top concern for the country. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans said in the most recent poll that they want additional border fencing, and 54 percent said they support Trump for shutting down the government until Congress approves funding for the wall.
  • The Hill posted an article titled: “Hoyer: IRS distributing refunds during shutdown is illegal”. From the article:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) claimed Tuesday that the Trump administration lacks the legal authority to distribute tax refunds during the government shutdown, as the White House says it intends to do.
“Literally, there are $140 billion, approximately, in tax refunds that won’t be able to be sent,” Hoyer said during is weekly press briefing in the Capitol…
…On Monday, the administration vowed that the shutdown will not delay the IRS’s distribution of those payments…
…Hoyer said flatly that making the payments during the shutdown is illegal.
“The president now is going to order them to do what we think is illegal to do because he wants to act like a dictator,” Hoyer said.
To ramp up the pressure on Senate GOP leaders to act, Hoyer and House Democrats plan to pass four separate spending bills this week, targeting some of the shuttered agencies.
On Wednesday, they’ll vote on a financial services bill to reopen the Treasury Department; on Thursday, they’ll bring two bills to the floor, one funding the Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration, and another financing the Interior Department, including the National Park Service. And on Friday, they’ll vote to reopen the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments…
  • The Washington Post posted an article titled: “As shutdown stalls farm bailout, Trump team extends deadline”. From the article:
President Trump’s program to send billions of dollars to farmers hurt by his trade war with China has been stalled by the partial government shutdown, as the Agriculture Department office responsible for administering the payouts is closed for lack of funding.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that the department has extended the deadline for farmers to apply for bailout payments. The application window was slated to close Jan. 15, but Perdue said Tuesday that the deadline will extend until at least three weeks after the shutdown ends.
The shutdown caused the Agriculture Department to run out of money on Dec. 28 to keep Farm Service Agency offices open…
  • The Guardian posted an article titled: “Six Key Things to know about Trump’s border wall speech”. From the article:
…Terrorists rarely enter the US through Mexico: In September, a state department report concerning 2017 found “no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels, or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States…”
A wall won’t stop drug traffickers: The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has said the most common way for traffickers to smuggle drugs across the border is by hiding them in cars that drive through official border checkpoints…
Illegal immigration to the US has plummeted: In 2000, the government apprehended 1.6 million people crossing the border illegally. Last year, it apprehended 310,531, the lowest figure since 1971…
  • The New York Times posted a fact-check of Trump’s speech titled: “Trump’s Speech to the Nation: Live Updates and Fact Checks”. They identified one lie, and several things that require more context in order to be fully understood.

Here is the thing President Trump said that The New York Times identified as “false”:

…”The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.”
False.
Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in funding for border security measures like enhanced surveillance an fortified fencing. They do not support Mr. Trump’s border wall.
In a meeting with Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer in December, Mr. Trump took responsibility for the partial government shutdown.
“I will take the mantle, I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it,” he said….
  • The White House posted a transcript of President Trump’s speech.
  • A transcript of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s remarks, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s remarks, are posted on the Speaker of the House website.
  • The Guardian posted an article titled: “Joshua Tree national park announces closure after trees destroyed amid shutdown”. From the article:
For 17 days, a host of volunteers and a skeleton staff kept the trash cans and toilets from overflowing at Joshua Tree national park.
But on Tuesday, 18 days after the federal government shutdown furloughed the vast majority of national park staff, officials announced that vandalism of the park’s distinctive namesake plants and other maintenance and sanitation problems will require closure starting Thursday…
…[Joshua Tree spokesman George] Land told the Los Angeles Times that, with only eight rangers currently overseeing the nearly 800,000 acre park, the gates would likely be closed until the shutdown ends…
  • Reuters posted an article titled: “Trump administration says it will provide food stamps in February despite shutdown”. From the article:
The Trump Administration said on Tuesday it would keep providing food assistance to poor Americans in February despite a partial U.S. government shutdown, but warned it had no solution in place for March if the funding shortfall continues.
The announcement provides a reprieve for the roughly 40 million people whose food stamps have been threatened by the shutdown, triggered last month by President Donald Trump’s demand that lawmakers include billions of dollars for his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall in any legislation to fund some government agencies…
…Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the so-called Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program would receive funding for February thanks to a legal provision that allows money to be allocated within 30 days of a shutdown..
…Perdue said, however, that no solution has been identified for March, and called on lawmakers to agree on funding legislation and “send it to the president in a form that he can sign.”…

And then it was Wednesday, Day 19 of the partial government shutdown. So many things have happened on Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, and Day 18 of the shutdown that this blog post is full!

I will pick up where I left off in my next blog post about the 2018–2019 partial government shutdown.