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Shutdown kick-starts the 2020 congressional campaign
From the airwaves to inboxes, both parties are already in attack mode

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While it’s impossible to predict what issues will dominate the campaign trail 22 months out from Election Day, the partial government shutdown could be an early test for both parties’ 2020 messaging.

For Democrats, the shutdown reinforces their message that congressional Republicans are not willing to stand up to President Donald Trump — a theme that resonated last November among independent voters who helped deliver a Democratic House majority. Trump has insisted that any legislation to reopen the government include funding for a wall along the southern border, something most Democrats remain opposed to.

‘Amnesty Don’ returns? Trump curiously challenges his conservative base
GOP strategist: ’He runs the risk of the movement passing him by‘ if they feel betrayed

Supporters of the so-called DREAM Act march to the Capitol on March 5, 2018, to call on Congress to pass the legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The timing, to say the least, was curious. Even by President Donald Trump’s unpredictable standards.

First, he angered his conservative base with a Saturday pitch to end a partial government shutdown that included temporary protections for the so-called Dreamer population. The next day, the president, once dubbed “Amnesty Don” by a popular far-right news site, made a surprising — even defiant — return.

House Democrats’ gun agenda to start with where they might get GOP votes
Early bills will be more narrow in focus to avoid a pileup of go-nowhere legislation

Rep. Mike Thompson  is chairman of the House Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic supporters who helped sweep in a new class of lawmakers promising a gun law overhaul might have to wait longer than they’d like for that agenda to materialize in the form of bills.

While Democrats wrestled back the majority in the House, Republicans still control the Senate, and Donald Trump is still in the Oval Office.

Democrats are playing a blame game they may not win
Americans want solutions and they expect new House majority to be a part of it

Congressional Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer, may be misinterpreting their mandate from the voters in last year’s midterms with their intransigence in the border wall impasse, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — It’s feeling like Groundhog Day in Washington. Every morning, each side in the partial shutdown fight digs in and blames each other for what seems to be devolving into one of the great paradoxes of physics — what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

But blame isn’t a solution.

State of the Union status unclear as White House seeks to keep it on Jan. 29
Pelosi still hasn't brought up a concurrent resolution needed to hold joint session of Congress

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pictured Jan. 22 with chef José Andrés, touring his World Central Kitchen as it serves free meals to federal workers who have been affected by the partial government shutdown, has not received a formal response from the White House to her request that President Donald Trump delay the State of the Union. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The logistics of the annual State of the Union address are in limbo, caught up in the partial government shutdown that has stretched into a second month.

President Donald Trump has so far refused to agree to delay his State of the Union address — unofficially scheduled for Tuesday — but without Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s cooperation, he will not be able to deliver it to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber.

Republican urges Trump to ‘jump start’ infrastructure push

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., walks through the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress say they want to do it. President Donald Trump says he wants it, too.

But if a major transportation bill is going to happen this year, the ranking Republican on the House committee that would write it says Trump needs to get his own party on board, and that starts with State of the Union speech.

Court Rules Against Mark Harris in Unresolved North Carolina House Race
Harris had sought Wake County court to certify election results that are under investigation

A court denied Mark Harris' request to force the state board of elections to certify him as the winner of the 9th District election. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

It’s been more than two months since the midterms, but the election in North Carolina’s 9th District is still unresolved. And a hearing in Wake County Tuesday did not bring it any closer to resolution, with a judge declining to force certification of the election on behalf of Republican Mark Harris.

Harris, who led by 905 votes in the wake of the November election, had requested that Wake County Superior Court Jude Paul Ridgeway intervene to declare him the winner, despite a pending state investigation into the contest, which has been marred by allegations of election fraud.

Contenders for McCain‘s Arizona Senate seat huddle with Sen. Chuck Schumer
Rep. Ruben Gallego and astronaut Mark Kelly are among the possible candidates

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., confirmed he has met with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of a possible run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The three top Democratic Party contenders considering a challenge to appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona have met with Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the potential candidates confirmed Monday.

“He knows that Arizona is a swing state and he’s talking to a couple of candidates here in Arizona,” Rep. Ruben Gallego said in an interview with KTVK. “He’s very realistic about what we need to do to win this state and I made a good case for why I’d be the best candidate should I decide to run.”

MAGA hat ban ‘joke’ leads to Twitter skewering of House Democrat
Kentucky Rep. Yarmuth was riffing on Trump’s campaign promise to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., was "ratioed" on Twitter for jokingly suggesting that lawmakers ban MAGA hats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Well, that joke went over people’s heads.

Twitter — usually not the best medium for conveying sarcasm — raked Rep. John Yarmuth over the coals this weekend after he suggested lawmakers impose a “total and complete shutdown of teenagers wearing MAGA hats until we can figure out what is going on.”

White House, Dems can’t even agree on status of potential shutdown talks
On 32nd day, Trump spox says Pelosi ’refuses’ to chat. Her office says she has no WH invite

Garbage overflows a trash can on the National Mall across from the White House on Jan. 1. Weeks later, President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi aren’t even talking directly about ending the government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi began the 32nd day of the government shutdown bickering about invitations to talk as no new negotiations are planned amid a stalemate with no end in sight.

Democrats on Saturday rejected a proposal that would trade temporary protections for undocumented migrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, for Donald Trump’s desired $5.7 billion for a southern border wall before the president even began describing it in a late-afternoon address.