There’s almost nobody in the White House but me


With the government shutdown entering its record 23rd day on Sunday, there’s still no light at the end of the tunnel.

After members of Congress left Washington, DC, for another weekend, President Trump remained to man the White House solo.

“There’s almost nobody in the W.H. but me,” he lamented in a Saturday tweet as the impasse over his demand for $5.7 billion for a border barrier dragged on.

“We will be out for a long time unless the Democrats come back from their ‘vacations’ and get back to work,” Trump wrote. “I am in the White House ready to sign!”

Far from negotiating, Democrats were reportedly devising legal arguments to thwart any executive attempt to declare a national emergency on the US-Mexico border—a move that could let Trump use Pentagon funds to build a barrier.

“An emergency cannot be whatever a president says an emergency is,” Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) told the Washington Post.

But a presidential emergency declaration has never been challenged in court, so the legal pathway for Dems is unclear.

Now that the 800,000 federal workers whose departments remain unfunded have missed their first paychecks, banks and credit unions are offering loans to help them get by and mortgage lenders are offering postponements on payment due dates, the Wall Street Journal reported.

It’s a safe bet for lenders since all the furloughed workers—even those who have been told to stay home—will receive back pay once their agencies are up and running again, under a law passed Friday. Transportation Security Administration workers will get $500 bonuses for working during the holidays, the agency announced Saturday.

Trump attacked reports that he lacks a strategy for breaking the impasse.

“I do have a plan on the Shutdown,” he tweeted. “I promised safety and security for the American people. Part of that promise was a Wall at the Southern Border.”

The administration’s attempts to minimize the effects of the stalemate have extended to food-stamp recipients, who will get their February benefits in January, before funding runs out. Home buyers will see their mortgage applications approved by IRS clerks to prevent harm to the housing industry.

But air travelers may experience long lines at security checkpoints amid an uptick in absenteeism among TSA baggage screeners.

Miami International Airport will close one of its six concourses on Sunday and Monday afternoon due to a lack of federal personnel.