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Monday, Jan 21st

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Shutdown’s economic damage: $1 billion a week

Shutdown costing 1 billion dollars a weekAs federal workers face the prospect of missed paychecks during the partial government shutdown, their financial reality is rippling into the broader economy.

The roughly 800,000 government employees who are either furloughed or working without pay will be forced to start slashing their consumer spending when paychecks don’t appear this week. Private-sector contractors and other workers tied to the government are already seeing damage from lost business.

And a hit to the nation’s financial standing is on the horizon with a warning from Fitch Ratings on Wednesday about downgrading the government’s credit rating if the shutdown persists.

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Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen will testify at House Oversight Committee before entering prison

Michael Cohen to testify about Trumps payments

Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer  for President Donald Trump, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in February — a month before beginning to serve a three-year prison sentence for a range of crimes which include ones related to Trump.

Cohen’s planned Feb. 7 appearance is voluntary. He said Thursday it will give him the opportunity “to give a full and credible acount of the events that have transpired.”

The hearing will come two-and-a-half months months after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 about details of an aborted Trump real-estate project in Moscow, Russia.

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Sleet slat wall prototype sawed through in DHS test, report says

Trump's steel wall eaily breached President Donald Trump has recently advocated for a "steel slat" barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border after earlier pushing for a concrete wall to stop the flow of migrants.

But steel slats may not be the "impenetrable wall" Trump promised on the campaign trail in 2016. A report from NBC News said that during a Department of Homeland Security test, steel slats were sawed through in one of the wall prototypes that the president reviewed in March 2018.

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Mnuchin to brief House committee chiefs on sanctions relief decisions: report

Mnuchin trying to lift sanctions on Russian oligarchTreasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has agreed to present lawmakers with a confidential briefing on Thursday concerning a plan to ease sanctions on businesses linked to Oleg Deripaska, a prominent Russian oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Two high-level Democratic aides told NBC News on Wednesday that Mnuchin had agreed to the briefing, which comes after the chiefs of seven influential House committees urged the secretary to explain why the Trump administration was seeking to ease sanctions on businesses linked to Deripaska.

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Trump walks out of meeting with congressional leaders, considers declaring emergency at border

Trump walks out of meeting with Shumer and Pelosi President Donald Trump walked out of a negotiating meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday and said he might declare a national emergency at the border after Democrats refused to yield to his demands for money for a border wall.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump abruptly ended the White House session after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she did not support his border wall.

"He just got up and said we have nothing to discuss, and he walked out," Schumer said. "He just walked out of the meeting.”

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Half the 600,000 residents aided by NYC Care are undocumented immigrants

NYC Care: Helps 600,000 undocumented residents

The comprehensive health care plan unveiled by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week drew applause from the Democrat's supporters but also skepticism from those in the city who question the value and cost of the effort.

De Blasio said NYC Care will provide primary and specialty care from pediatric to geriatric to 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers. De Blasio estimated the annual cost at $100 million.

"This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can’t afford it, or can’t get comprehensive Medicaid - including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers," Eric Phillips, spokesman for de Blasio, boasted on Twitter.

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Second federal employees' union sues Trump administration over shutdown

Second federal union sues Trump over shutdown

A second federal employees’ union has filed suit against the Trump administration over the government shutdown, which is now in its third week.

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents 150,000 members at 33 federal agencies, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that hundreds of thousands of workers are being illegally forced to work without pay, according to The Washington Post.

The lawsuit comes just over a week after the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union announced a similar lawsuit.

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Poll: Voters blame Trump, GOP for shutdown

Voters blame Trump, GOP for shutdownPresident Donald Trump faces a tall task in his Oval Office address on Tuesday night: convincing voters outside of his political base that there is an urgent crisis at the nation’s southern border, that a wall along the border is necessary to solve it, and it’s worth a government shutdown that has stretched for nearly three weeks.

President Donald Trump faces a tall task in his Oval Office address on Tuesday night: convincing voters outside of his political base that there is an urgent crisis at the nation’s southern border, that a wall along the border is necessary to solve it, and it’s worth a government shutdown that has stretched for nearly three weeks.

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A Texas county GOP's faction seeks to remove 'unsuitable' Muslim vice chair

Texas county GOP wants to remove Muslim vice chair

Tarrant county Republicans in Texas will vote Thursday on an effort by a faction to remove their vice chairman, Shahid Shafi, because he's Muslim.

Fort Worth is the largest city in Tarrant county.

The campaign against Shafi, a trauma surgeon and member of the Southlake City Council, was mounted by a small group of Republicans led by Dorrie O'Brien, a precinct chairman from Grand Prairie.

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