1/ The White House will order the IRS to pay out income-tax refunds, despite 90 percent of its workforce not working. A little over 10 percent of IRS employees are still on the clock through the partial government shutdown attempting to implement the sweeping Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The effort adds to bureaucratic backlog as the shutdown drags into its 17th day. (ABC News / New York Times)
- Senate Democrats are considering blocking all future legislation in order to maintain focus on the shutdown. Chuck Schumer told the Democratic caucus he will only focus on bills that would reopen the government. (CNN)
2/ The Department of Agriculture wouldn’t say for how long it will continue to pay out food stamps during the shutdown to the nearly 39 million people who depend on the service each month. Senior officials said the program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), has enough funding to cover the rest of January—but not enough for February. Congress has never let SNAP funding run out. (Politico / Washington Post)
3/ Trump’s latest offer to end the shutdown includes a demand for $5.7 billion in funding “for construction of a steel barrier for the Southwest border,” plus another $800 million to address “urgent humanitarian needs” related to unaccompanied minors arriving at the border. The White House refused to detail how the requested funding would be spent or why the amount is larger than what the administration requested a few months ago. Members of Congress made no progress in negotiations over the weekend. (Washington Post)
- Jimmy Carter became the latest former president to deny telling Trump he regrets not building a wall along the southern U.S. border. “I have not discussed the border wall with President Trump and do not support him on the issue,” Carter said. (The Hill)
4/ Trump wants to deliver a prime-time address Tuesday night to discuss the government shutdown and what he calls “the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.” All major networks—ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC—confirmed they had received requests to air the broadcast during the 9 p.m. Eastern slot, but producers have not yet decided whether or not they will do so. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)
5/ The president of the World Bank resigned and will leave his post at the end of the month, three years before his term was set to end. Jim Yong Kim was nominated in 2012 by President Obama, and his early departure grants Trump the power to nominate a successor. Kim gave no reason for his sudden resignation. The CEO of the Bank will take over on an interim basis. (NBC News)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed oral arguments at the Supreme Court for the first time in more than 25 years as she recovered from surgery. It is not clear when she will return to the bench, but a spokesperson said Ginsburg, 85, continues to work from home as she recuperates. Doctors removed two cancerous growths from her lungs on December 21. (Associated Press)
Former GOP Sen. Jon Kyl became the second person to turn down Trump’s offer to replace Jim Mattis as Secretary of Defense. Ret. Gen. Jack Keane also turned Trump down shortly after Mattis resigned late last month. (Politico)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to several Middle Eastern nations to reassure America’s allies in the midst of a flurry of contradictions and confusion regarding Trump’s plan to pull U.S. forces out of Syria and Afghanistan. (ABC News)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.