The government is STILL shut down

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Brian Ries and Amanda Wills, CNN

Updated 2:53 p.m. ET, January 25, 2019
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3:35 p.m. ET, January 7, 2019

Pence: White House counsel looking at Trump's ability to declare a national emergency to fund a wall

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Vice President Mike Pence told reporters this afternoon that White House counsel is looking at the President’s ability to declare a national emergency to fund border security, as he suggested on Friday and again over the weekend.

Trump is still considering it, Pence said.

"I will say that one of the ways Congress can find resources is through an emergency supplemental," he added.

Asked whether declaration of an emergency should be used as a bargaining chip, Pence said, "There’s no threat going on here."

3:26 p.m. ET, January 7, 2019

Senate Democrats are considering blocking all legislation to keep focus on shutdown

From CNN's Manu Raju

Senate Democrats will try to block action on a Syria sanctions bill when it comes up for a vote Tuesday — an effort to keep the focus on the government shutdown.  

A separate senior Democratic aide said Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “has notified the Dem caucus that he will vote against proceeding to S.1 because Senate Republicans should instead bring to the floor the House-passed bills to reopen the government.”

The measure in question here combines four Middle East-related bills, including new sanctions on the Syrian regime, and is viewed by critics of Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops there as a vehicle to speak out against that move. 

Democrats also will discuss at their weekly policy lunch Wednesday whether to broaden their blocking tactic to all legislation, according to a senior Democratic aide.   

3:43 p.m. ET, January 7, 2019

GOP senator: Trump declaring national emergency "makes it more complicated" to resolve impasse

From CNN's Manu Raju and Liz Landers

Sen. John Cornyn, a member of Senate Republican leadership, told CNN President Trump could complicate the stalemate over the shutdown if he were to declare a national emergency to secure funding for his border wall.

“I’m confident he could declare a national emergency but what that may mean in terms of adding new elements to this — in terms of court hearings and litigation that may carry this on for weeks and months and years — to me injecting a new element in this just makes it more complicated.”

Asked whether he believes Mexico will pay for the wall through the new trade agreement, as Trump has asserted, Cornyn said there's a "long way to go" before the trade agreement is even approved by Congress.

Cornyn said he would be “fine” with reopening individual government agencies not affected by the wall, like the IRS, but “if this is all about a plan to try to deny the President the money that we need for border security, I’m not going to be part of that nor will the President sign it.”

He called this shutdown a "contrived" one that could be resolved by negotiations of "good faith."

3:06 p.m. ET, January 7, 2019

A short list of Trump’s formal primetime speeches

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Tuesday's address will be President Trump's first formal address to the nation delivered from the Oval Office. (He'll be talking about border security.)

Trump has spoken during primetime on a few occasions before in speeches that could be called an "address to the nation," though that's a loose term that different White Houses use in different ways.

Here are some times Trump has spoken in primetime in formal remarks (this does not include campaign rallies or sprays):

  • Jan. 31, 2017: The nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch
  • April 7, 2017: When the US military struck Syria
  • Aug. 21, 2017: Trump offered his plans for the US strategy in Afghanistan
  • April 13, 2018: The US, UK and France coordinated to launch strikes against targets within Syria
  • July 9, 2018: The nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh

One thing to note: Former President Barack Obama gave 13 official addresses to the nation during his eight years in office.

2:54 p.m. ET, January 7, 2019

House Homeland committee chair asks TSA for information on screeners calling out sick

From CNN's Rene Marsh

Transportation Security Administration officers screen passengers at the departure area of the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, on Jan. 5, 2019.
Transportation Security Administration officers screen passengers at the departure area of the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, on Jan. 5, 2019. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the House Homeland Security committee, asked today about sick-outs at the Transportation Security Administration, first reported by CNN.

“I am concerned if wait times and public pressure increases, some TSA managers may try to manage the effects of the shutdown in ways that are detrimental to security. The security of aviation passengers much always be paramount,” Thompson wrote in a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

The letter goes on to ask for information on the callouts, staffing levels and plans for dealing with the shutdown.

CNN reported Friday that hundreds of TSA screeners, working without pay, were calling out sick at major airports.

2:38 p.m. ET, January 7, 2019

She raised money on GoFundMe to help pay her bills during the shutdown

From CNN's Caroline Kenny

Government workers from across the country are figuring out ways to get by and pay the bills during the government shutdown. One contract employee said she set up a GoFundMe account to help pay her expenses during the shutdown, which currently has no end in sight.

"I was given the advice to set up a GoFundMe and I made a goal of approximately two months of salary because I wasn't sure how much this would last," Julie Burr told CNN's Brianna Keilar in an interview on Monday. "That's going to help get us through. It helped with my January rent and more than likely will have to help with February rent also. So right now I'm relying on that."

Burr, a federal contract worker for the Department of Transportation in Kansas City, Missouri, said she also isn't expecting to get paid for hours she has already worked because she can't submit her timesheet since there is no one to approve it in the office where she works.

"I just want to get back to work. I just want the government to be back up and running and I want to get back to work and earn my paycheck and that's what I think a lot of people feel like," she said.

Watch more:

2:17 p.m. ET, January 7, 2019

Broadcast networks not yet committed to showing Trump's address Tuesday

From CNN’s Brian Stelter

The broadcast networks have not yet committed to showing President Trump's Tuesday night address.

"Time has been requested tomorrow night for 9p. Networks are deliberating," a network source said.

The networks usually grant presidential requests for airtime, but don't always or automatically say yes. For example: The broadcasters declined to air an address by former President Barack Obama in 2014 about executive actions on immigration.

Why this matters: Trump announced on Twitter earlier Monday that he would be addressing the nation on "the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border."

White House communications director Bill Shine said the President will address the nation from the Oval Office. 

CNN's Jim Acosta contributed to this reporting.

2:11 p.m. ET, January 7, 2019

How the shutdown might affect your tax refund

From CNN's Donna Borak


The Internal Revenue Service is among the federal agencies affected by the government shutdown, and the possibility of a lengthy stalemate could complicate this year's tax season.

The IRS is currently working under non-filing season shutdown plans, but it's not clear how those might be updated one filing season hits. Right now, the agency is operating with only 12.5% of its workforce, or fewer than 10,000 federal employees.

During a shutdown, the IRS typically doesn't perform audits, pay refunds or offer assistance to taxpayers if they have questions — especially outside of the filing season.

And filing season is coming: Tax filing season usually begins in mid-January (the IRS has yet to announce when individuals and businesses can begin submitting their income tax returns this year).

For now, individuals who call the IRS with questions are greeted with an automated message: "Welcome to the IRS. Live telephone assistance is not available at this time. Normal operations will resume as soon as possible."

2:12 p.m. ET, January 7, 2019

Trump will address the nation Tuesday on "national security crisis"

President Trump just tweeted that he will address the nation at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday on "the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border."

Remember: Trump is set to visit the border on Thursday, which will be day 20 of the government shutdown.

The President hasn't backed down from his demand for funding for a border wall as lawmakers remain in a stalemate over shutdown talks. On Sunday, Trump said he might declare a national emergency imminently to secure money for his border wall.