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Trump, Democrats dug in as government heads for shutdown

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Trump Democrats dug in as government heads for shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — Racing toward a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump appeared dug in Friday in a standoff with Democrats over his demand for billions of dollars in U.S.-Mexico border wall money.

The shutdown, scheduled for midnight, would disrupt government operations and leave hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed or forced to work without pay just days before Christmas.

Trump convened Republican senators for a lengthy meeting at the White House, but it produced no clear path toward passage of a government-funding bill containing billions for wall construction. The Senate began a procedural vote on the legislation but was stuck in a long holding pattern waiting for the return of senators who had already left town.

“This is our only chance that we’ll ever have, in our opinion, because of the world and the way it breaks out, to get great border security,” Trump said Friday at the White House. Democrats will take control of the House in January, and they oppose major funding for wall construction.

Trump tried to pin the blame on Democrats for the possible shutdown, even though just last week he said he would be “proud” to shut part of the government in a fight for the wall, which was a major promise of his presidential campaign.

Congress had been on track to fund the government but lurched when Trump, after a rare lashing from conservative supporters, declared Thursday he would not sign a bill without the wall billions. His supporters on the right warned that his “caving” on repeated wall promises could hurt his 2020 re-election chances, and those of other Republicans as well.

“We’re totally prepared for a very long shutdown,” Trump said Friday. Embracing his changed terminology, he claimed there is tremendous enthusiasm for border security — “the barrier, wall or steel slats — it’s all the same.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell returned to Capitol Hill saying lawmakers “had a good conversation about the way forward. We are going to continue to be talking this afternoon.”

McConnell quickly set in motion a Senate procedural vote on a House Republican package that would give Trump $5.7 billion for the wall, but it was not expected to pass. At least one Republican, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, was opposed, saying he would resist wall money without broader immigration reforms, leaving even the procedural vote in doubt.

Senators were being recalled to Washington after having already approved a bipartisan package earlier this week that would continue existing border security funding, at $1.3 billion, but without new money for Trump’s wall.

Friday’s voting dragged on as senators rushed back to town. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said he returned to the Lone Star state on Thursday only to get back on an early Friday morning flight to Washington.

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz flew all the way home to Hawaii, tweeting that he spent 17 minutes with his family, before returning on the 11-hour flight.

“Wheels down IAD ready to vote no on this stupid wall,” Schatz tweeted Friday, referring to Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

At the White House, senators engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth with the president, but it did not appear to set a strategy for moving forward.

“I was in an hour meeting on that and there was no conclusion,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

The Senate was expected to reject the House measure because Democratic votes are needed and McConnell showed little interest in changing the rules — as Trump proposed — to allow a simple majority for passage.

One possibility was that the Senate might strip the border wall funds out of the package, pass it and send it back to the House. House lawmakers said they were being told to stay in town for more possible votes.

Only a week ago, Trump insisted during a televised meeting at the White House he would take ownership of a shutdown over his border wall. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down,” he asserted.

But with the hours dwindling before the midnight deadline, Trump sought to reframe the debate and blame Democrats for the impasse that threatens hundreds of thousands of federal workers on the eve of the end-of-the-year holidays.

“Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything. Later in the morning, not even waiting for a Senate vote, Trump tweeted that “the Democrats now own the shutdown!”

The White House said Trump would not go to Florida on Friday as planned for the Christmas holiday if the government were shutting down.

At issue is funding for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are funded for the year and would continue to operate as usual. The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, would not be affected because it’s an independent agency.

Thursday night, the GOP-led House voted largely along party lines, 217-185, to attach the border wall money to the Senate’s bill. House Republicans also tacked on nearly $8 billion in disaster aid for coastal hurricanes and California wildfires.

Both the House and Senate packages would extend government funding through Feb. 8, all but guaranteeing another standoff once Democrats take control of the House in the New Year.

“There are a lot of us who want to avoid a shutdown,” said Kansas GOP Sen. Pat Roberts. “I’ve been through about five of them in my career. None of them have worked in terms of their intent.”

___

Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Kevin Freking and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

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Democrats

Joe Biden is considering Stacyy Abrams as his running mate. Why hasn’t he declared yet?

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Joe Biden is considering Stacyy Abrams as his running mate Why hasnt he declared yet

The Joe Biden saga keeps getting stranger every week. While most anticipate the former Vice President is going to run for President in 2020, he still hasn’t announced despite most of the major candidates who were expected to run have already made their announcement. Now, a report that his staff is considering asking former Democratic contender for Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams continues to add fuel to speculation while also making this whole thing even more strange.

In 2016, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) made the rare move of announcing his Vice Presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina, before securing the nomination. It was a desperate move at a time when his prospects for defeating Donald Trump were fading and it didn’t work out. Biden’s alleged move is very different. He’s ahead in the very early polls even before the first debate, let alone the Iowa caucus. Yet speculating about a potential VP seems out of place, just like everything else in this whole debacle.

My theory is he’s trying to minimize the potential attack channels by cautiously field-testing everything first. By gathering data without officially announcing a run, he has the luxury of riding the speculation train as long as he can. He would be the instant frontrunner if he were to announce, but if history tells us anything, frontrunner status rarely means much. Hillary Clinton was the frontrunner from beginning to end in 2016, but even then the speculation of a late run by Biden was appealing to many Democrats.

Biden likely fears being the early frontrunner will generate fatigue for his name being tossed around so often. It’s still early; at this point in 2015, only one major GOP candidate, Cruz, had officially announced his run. Biden wants to ride the speculation as long as possible knowing once he’s officially in, he’s open to attacks. Just as his old boss President Obama did in 2008, some lesser known high-energy candidate could sneak up on the frontrunner and knock them off quickly. In 2015, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker were early frontrunners before being embarrassingly tossed aside by Trump and the other candidates.

Whether or not Biden selects Abrams, and if she’s willing to take the nomination, this type of speculation allows him to stay in the news while people continue to hold their collective breath about a future announcement.

Bottom line, he’s running. He’s been running for a while. The fact that he’s not official yet only plays into the fundraising he’s missing, which he’ll be able to make up quickly once he announces. All in all, the Democratic race is turning hilarious.

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Babylon Bee satire piece pretty much nails the Democrats’ incentive on Electoral College

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Babylon Bee satire piece pretty much nails the Democrats incentive on Electoral College

The founders decided to employ an Electoral College in picking the President to prevent tyranny by majority. They realized back then exactly what is happening today – the establishment of urban and suburban echo chambers that would rather see flyover country engulfed by a giant tornado than to “suffer” through conservative and Christian ideologies, especially in Washington DC. This is the driving force behind the sudden push to abolish the Electoral College, and the satirical masterminds at Babylon Bee nailed it.

Democratic candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is leading the charge to make the process that saved us from a Hillary Clinton presidency obsolete. Why? Because they can’t figure out how to win otherwise. Sure, they were able to dominate the Electoral College with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but the last two Democratic Presidents were running against weak Republicans in both of their elections. Had they been running against conservatives, especially in each of their first elections, the results may have been very different and the country may be in much better shape by now.

Nevertheless, this is what the Democrats want. Any system that can yield President Trump is a system they know they can fight against with their unhinged supporters, blind followers, and Trump haters.

That’s the nature of America today. Satire doesn’t need to venture too far away from reality in order to get a hilarious version of the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in, especially as it pertains to the loony party on the far left.

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TIL the famous bar AOC worked at shut down over rising costs, minimum wage increase

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TIL the famous bar AOC worked at shut down over rising costs minimum wage increase

Today I learned something that surprised me, not because of the event itself but because so few people have talked about it. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is known for being a leader of the socialist movement in Washington DC after rising from the humble status of bartender to the Congresswoman of the 14th district in New York. Her policies include a push for a “living wage” of $15 per hour. I’ve always thought the wording was odd considering Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and others have been calling for a rise in “minimum wage.” Today, I found out why she’s shying away from that phrase.

When New York City raised their minimum wage $15, many businesses were hit hard, especially in the hospitality industry. Restaurants and bars started cutting hours and often even closing their doors over the increase. One of those hit hard by the massive bump was The Coffee Shop. Owner Charles Milite blamed the closure on high costs, with the rise in minimum wage as the last straw.

“The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees,” he said.

The Coffee Shop is the bar where AOC once worked.

Keep in mind, this wasn’t some random bar. The Coffee Shop in Union Square was considered a high-end establishment, buzzing all the time with “A-list” patrons. It was featured many times in the HBO show Sex and the City and had built a reputation as an “it” spot for Manhattan residents and tourists alike. In other words, this wasn’t a hole in the wall hanging on by a string. It was a vibrant, successful business for almost three decades before New York City’s untenable leftist policies, including a $15 minimum wage, became more than the bar could bear.

On the surface, many voters may see the very basic math of “oh, Democrats want to pay me more” and assume there’s no repercussions for such actions. This is why Democrats prey on those people who currently make lower wages. They feel if they can promise them something that sounds good even if they know with 100% certainty based on empirical evidence that it will actually hurt them, these new socialists are willing to make that trade. They figure they can blame the conservatives later for why the place they were working at before cut their hours, removed their jobs, or shut down because of raising the minimum wage.

As usual, socialists rely on ignorance and emotion as the driving forces behind their plans. They’re not stupid. They know their ideas won’t work. But they’re willing to push them on people anyway in hopes that ignorance will keep them in power.

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