A presidential ‘tantrum’ over the border wall
Welcome to Day 20 of the shutdown, which could become the longest in history on Saturday. Yesterday, President Trump stormed out of a meeting with congressional leaders, throwing what Democrats described as a “temper tantrum” over his demand to fund a border wall, a key sticking point in talks to reopen the government. On Twitter, he called the session “a total waste of time.” The NYT writes:
The contentious, brief and futile session underscored an impasse that is looking each day like an insurmountable gulf between the two sides.
Today, President Trump will visit the border in McAllen, Tex. Yesterday, he reiterated a threat to invoke emergency powers to fund his wall without congressional approval. That, writes Charlie Savage in the NYT, “would be an extraordinary violation of constitutional norms — and establish a precedent for presidents who fail to win approval for funding a policy goal.”
Some consequences of the stalemate:
• In Washington, one of the richest areas in the country, it’s affecting retailers, tourist centers, salons, garbage bins and more.
• Coast Guard employees received a five-page tip sheet suggesting that they could stay afloat without their paychecks through garage sales, babysitting, dog-walking, serving as “mystery shoppers” or, as a last resort, declaring bankruptcy.
• This was expected to be a banner year for I.P.O.s. But with work halted at regulators, it could be only the fourth year since 1995 when no major company goes public in January. Other deals, including CVS’s purchase of Aetna, could also be delayed.
The Fed is ready to pause
Two Federal Reserve officials said yesterday that the central bank should assess economic conditions before it considers raising rates again. And they did so as the Fed released the minutes of its December meeting, showing that it reached the same conclusion.
The takeaway: Central bank officials are now not likely to raise the benchmark interest rate at their January meeting nor at one in mid-March, writes the NYT’s Binyamin Appelbaum. But they still expect strong enough economic growth to justify increases this year.