👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ The Senate is heading toward a showdown vote on spending legislation to keep the government open past midnight. Democrats appear ready to vote against the short-term spending bill in an effort to secure concessions that would offer protections for young undocumented immigrants, increase domestic spending, provide aid to Puerto Rico, and more. The Senate adjourned Thursday night without scheduling a vote. (New York Times / Politico)
2/ Trump invited Chuck Schumer to the White House to discuss a deal with less than 12 hours to go before a possible government shutdown. Neither Mitch McConnell nor Paul Ryan plans to attend the White House meeting. Schumer left the closed-door meeting with Trump at the White House, saying, “We made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements.” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said the Senate would vote on the House-passed spending bill, but didn’t offer any details. (Washington Post / New York Times)
3/ Trump canceled his trip to Mar-a-Lago in hopes that lawmakers will avoid a shutdown. Trump had been planning to celebrate the first anniversary of his inauguration at the Florida resort. He’s hosting a Saturday night fundraising party. Tickets cost $100,000 per couple and include a photograph with Trump. (CNN)
4/ House Republicans are threatening to head home for the weekend, “virtually guaranteeing a shutdown unless some last-minute deal is struck.” The House passed a stopgap spending bill on Thursday night in a 230 to 197 vote to keep the government open through February 16. (Politico / CNN / New York Times)
5/ The Supreme Court will decide the legality of Trump’s latest travel ban, which targets people from six Muslim-majority countries. The court will hear arguments in April and issue a ruling by the end of June on whether the policy to block entry into the United States by most people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen violates federal immigration law or the U.S. Constitution. (Reuters / New York Times)
poll/ 57% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s job performance, the lowest mark for any modern-day president ending his first year. 51% strongly disapprove with 26% strongly approving of Trump’s performance. (NBC News)
poll/ 56% of Americans say approving a budget in order to avoid a shutdown is more important than continuing DACA, while 34% say DACA is more important than a shutdown. (CNN)
poll/ 48% of Americans blame Trump and congressional Republicans for the potential government shutdown. 28% fault Democrats. (Washington Post)
The chief of external affairs for the federal government’s volunteer service organization resigned after racist, sexist, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT comments he made on the radio in 2013 surfaced. (CNN)
A year into Trump’s presidency, five of his top staffers still have not certified their financial disclosures, which are required by law to ensure that these senior officials aren’t personally benefiting from their White House jobs. (McClatchy DC)
Omarosa Manigault-Newman may have taped confidential West Wing conversations. The former White House staffer believes she may become a fixture in Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia’s election meddling. (NY Daily News)
Hannity declared that Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt is now over.” In a monologue, Hannity claimed there is a memo circulating among lawmakers that reportedly details surveillance abuses by the U.S. government that are “far bigger” than Watergate. (The Hill)
Chris Christie was blocked from the VIP entrance at Newark Liberty International Airport, which he had used for eight years. The former New Jersey governor was directed to stand in the general TSA screening lines. (Bloomberg)
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