👋 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.
Send your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
1/ A partial shutdown is assured after House lawmakers left the Capitol for the night without passing a budget agreement. Funding for several key government agencies will lapse at midnight. Despite the Senate narrowly passing a procedural vote to begin debate on the House funding bill. That vote passed 48-47, with Mike Pence breaking the tie. Senators have also been told to go home. They were told they will have at least 24 hours notice before any vote. If the government shuts down, the Treasury and the departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Commerce, and Justice will close, more than 420,000 people will work without pay, and another 380,000 workers will be furloughed. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / CNBC / NBC News / Politico / Reuters / Wall Street Journal)
Senators being told to head home for the night, and that they won't be called back unless there's an honest-to-goodness deal... and with 24 hour notice.— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) December 21, 2018
That means a partial government shutdown tonight.
Two Dem senators tell me they’ve been told no more votes tonight, and that they will get 24 hours notice before the next vote in the Senate. So that’s it. Shutdown.— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) December 22, 2018
2/ The House of Representatives passed a stopgap measure funding measure that includes $5.7 billion in border wall funding after Trump threatened to veto the Senate-passed stopgap spending bill. The bill passed on a near-party-line vote of 217 to 185. Democrats, however, have the Senate votes to block any bill that includes funding for Trump’s wall, while Trump says he’ll veto any bill that doesn’t. (NBC News / Washington Post)
3/ Trump warned of a “shutdown today” that will last “a very long time” if his wall isn’t funded. Trump tried to blame it on a “Democrat Shutdown” despite last week taking responsibility about how he would be “proud to shut down the government.” Trump also urged McConnell to change Senate rules so Republican could “use the Nuclear Option and get it done!” Trump warned that “If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time.” (The Guardian / NBC News / The Hill / Reuters / Washington Post / New York Times)
McConnell and Senate Republicans rejected Trump’s demand to eliminate the filibuster, signaling that the Senate does not have enough votes to change the rules to pass Trump’s border wall funding with a simple majority. Republicans have a 51-49 majority in the Senate, but Democrats can block the House bill with a filibuster and other procedural moves, which require 60 votes to overcome. (The Hill / Politico)
Trump compared his border wall to the invention of “the wheel,” saying “there is nothing better” because – he claims – he understands “technology on a Border” “better than anyone.” He then compared his wall to Israel’s wall with Gaza to defend against Democrats “trying to belittle the concept of a Wall, calling it old fashioned.” (The Independent)
Federal agencies are preparing to furlough 380,000 workers. (Wall Street Journal)
Trump canceled his two-week-plus Mar-a-Lago holiday vacation as a government shutdown nears. White House aides, however, were notified that Trump may depart for Florida on Saturday at noon. (Politico)
4/ The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s request to automatically reject asylum bids by immigrants who illegally cross the U.S-Mexico border. Federal immigration law says people may apply for asylum “whether or not at a designated port of arrival” and “irrespective of such alien’s status.” The Trump policy would require all asylum claims to be made at official ports of entry. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / The Guardian)
poll/ 58% of Americans believe Trump tried to obstruct the investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia. 38% believe Trump did something illegal, 34% believe he did something unethical, but not illegal, and 25% Americans believe Trump did nothing wrong. (Associated Press)
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery to remove two cancerous nodules from her left lung. After the surgery, her thoracic surgeon said the nodules were malignant and that “there was no evidence of any remaining disease” and “scans performed before surgery indicated no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body.” (New York Times / CNN)
A U.S. intelligence report concludes that Russia, China, and Iran “conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns” targeting the midterm elections. Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said they did not compromise the voting systems, however. (New York Times)
Republican megadonor Robert Mercer has retreated from financially backing Trump’s agenda. The Mercers gave just over $25 million to conservative causes in 2016. This year the family gave $6.4 million to Republicans – the lowest amount since 2012. (CNBC)
Trump is already souring on Mick Mulvaney over a two-year-old video where Mulvaney calls Trump “a terrible human being.” Mulvaney hasn’t started as acting White House chief of staff yet. Trump was reportedly “furious” when he heard about the footage. In a separate interview from 2015, Mulvaney called Trump’s view on a border wall “simplistic,” absurd and almost childish.” (Axios / CNN)
Trump complained to aides that it’s unfair he is being blamed for the market’s downturn and concerns of an economic slowdown. Trump has repeatedly pointed to market gains as proof that his economic policies are working and that the country is thriving under his leadership. Unless an end-of-year rally emerges, 2018 will be the worst year for U.S. stocks since 2008 and the S&P 500 on track for its worst December since the Great Depression. (Washington Post)
The Dow had its worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 – down nearly 7%. The Nasdaq closed in a bear market and the S&P 500 was on the brink of one itself – down nearly 18% from its record earlier this year. (CNBC)
One Republican close to the White House described Trump as in “a tailspin,” acting “totally irrationally,” and “flipping out” over criticisms from conservatives calling him a “gutless president,” and questioning whether he would ever build a wall. (Washington Post)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.