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Senate GOP turns to time-honored budget tradition to fund wall
Republicans need 60 votes to keep emergency funds for the wall and other items

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If at first you don’t succeed, just call it an “emergency.”

That’s the way out of a budgetary jam that Senate Republicans used this week on a $354.5 billion fiscal 2019 omnibus package that would fund President Donald Trump’s border barrier proposal and other recent requests to Congress.

Democrat apologizes for forgetting that slavery was a thing in the U.S.
‘Never in the history of this country’ has it been legal to make people work for free, Rep. Welch tweeted

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., apologized Tuesday for forgetting that slavery existed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Peter Welch did whatever the online iteration of “putting one’s foot in one’s mouth” is, Tuesday when he apparently forgot that slavery existed in the United States.

The Vermont Democrat was trying to publicize a bill he introduced Tuesday prohibiting government agencies from making their employees work without pay.  The bill would provide immediate backpay to federal workers that have been stiffed during the shutdown.

AOC, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley seated on Oversight Committee
Spots for the progressive freshman signal future fireworks in investigative hearings

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will join the House Oversight Committee. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new crop of progressive freshman has been seated on the House of Representative’s investigative committee — signaling future fireworks and higher C-SPAN ratings for its hearings this year.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. — who all tack to the left and have shown an appetite for aggressively challenging the White House and corporate interests — have been tapped to join the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday night.

House GOP retreat postponed amid government shutdown
The Congressional Institute announced Wednesday it will postpone the three-day event

House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney is seen before the start of a news conference on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans’ annual retreat has become the latest victim of the partial government shutdown.

House Republicans had been scheduled to hold their retreat Jan. 30 through Feb. 1 at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. But the Congressional Institute announced Wednesday it will postpone the three-day event. 

Trump rolls out new slogan for border wall on 33rd day of government shutdown
President rebrands barrier with: ‘BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!’

President Donald Trump declines to answer a final question from the press as he departs the White House on Jan. 14. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump rolled out a new slogan for his proposed southern border wall on Wednesday, as a historically long partial government shutdown triggered by his demands for barrier funds entered its 33rd day.

The former businessman attempted to rebrand the politically polarizing barrier a day before the Senate will hold a procedural vote on his proposal for $5.7 billion in border wall funding and temporary protections for undocumented migrants protected by the Barack Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismisses Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on climate change
White House press secretary says they’ll listen to ‘a much, much higher authority’ than freshman congresswoman

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers a question during the daily briefing at the White House December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Regarding man-made climate change, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that the White House would rather listen to “a much, much higher authority” than Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Fox New host Sean Hannity asked Sanders on Tuesday night to respond to a statement by Ocasio-Cortez that greenhouse gas emissions have to be dramatically curbed the next twelve years to avoid catastrophe.

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.

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.