Mark Meadows

Fireworks and presidential threats send shutdown talks careening into chaos
Sides trade vicious barbs, allegations after Trump abruptly leaves Situation Room meeting

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S. D., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to reporters in the Capitol Wednesday following his lunch about the shutdown with Senate Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Talks toward ending the partial government shutdown hit a new low Wednesday when fireworks broke out at the White House, with President Donald Trump abruptly leaving a meeting with congressional leaders after yet another flap over his proposed southern border wall.

The shutdown enters its 20th day Thursday with no end in sight after another round of fruitless talks and blunt warnings from Trump about his next possible move if he cannot secure a deal with congressional Democrats over his border wall demands — even as 800,000 federal workers and their families wonder about future paychecks.

Here are lawmakers diverting pay in solidarity with shutdown employees
Thousands of civilian workers will not receive paychecks due next week if deal to end shutdown isn’t reached

Sen. Mazie Hirono said she will donate her paycheck to food banks in Hawaii during the shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several lawmakers have declared they will decline their paycheck or will donate it to charity in solidarity with civilian workers furloughed or working without pay.

Federal workers received their regular paychecks last week for work completed before the shutdown, but if a spending agreement is not reached soon, thousands could see a delay in paychecks scheduled for next Friday.

House Democrats pass government funding bills, Pelosi jokes she’d give Trump $1 for a wall
More seriously, Pelosi reiterates Democrats will not agree to wall as Republicans predict long shutdown

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pictured greeting Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., during opening day proceedings of the 116th Congress Jan. 3, said Democrats will not agree to a border wall but joked she’d give President Donald Trump $1 for it. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The new House Democratic majority passed two government funding bills Thursday to open shuttered federal agencies that President Donald Trump has said he will not sign, as Republicans predicted the partial government shutdown will be a long one. 

Before the votes Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated that Democrats will not agree to a border wall but joked that she’d give Trump $1 for it.

Trump Tweets of Talks With Dems, Invites None to Talks
Pence brings Schumer an offer, but apparently left without much to show for his trip

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s position on the spending plans did not change betwee Friday night and Saturday as he arrived at the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump claimed Saturday to be negotiating with Democratic leaders to end a partial government shutdown. But when he convened a lunch at the White House, he invited only Republican lawmakers and officials.

In fact, Trump broke bread in the executive mansion’s private residence with mostly immigration hardliners. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said again Saturday that any deal that would re-open the Justice, Homeland security, Agriculture, Interior and other departments will have to be negotiated by Trump and Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer.

House Passes Trump-Backed Stopgap; Senate to Vote Again Friday
Package may have little chance of reaching president’s desk

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrives back to the Capitol after a meeting at the White House about government funding on December 20, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House voted 217-185 Thursday to send the continuing resolution back to the Senate after adding $5.7 billion for border security and $7.8 billion for disaster relief, despite the package having little chance of getting to President Donald Trump’s desk.

The decision to add those elements to the bill, even though the disaster aid package enjoys broad bipartisan support, complicates efforts to avert the partial government shutdown that is set to begin Friday night when the stopgap spending bill expires.

House GOP Takes Another Shot With Trump-Backed Stopgap
Package has little chance of getting to president’s desk

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and House Republicans are going with a stopgap government funding bill that includes money for a border wall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans on Thursday unveiled a new stopgap spending bill with an added $5.7 billion appropriation for border security and $7.8 billion for disaster relief, despite the package having little chance of getting to President Donald Trump’s desk.

The decision to add those elements to the bill, even though the disaster aid package enjoys broad bipartisan support, complicates efforts to avert the partial government shutdown that is set to begin Friday night when the stopgap spending bill expires. The revised measure would need 60 votes to get through the Senate, where Democrats have said they’ll vote against it.

Trump to Huddle With House Republicans as Shutdown Situation Fluid
Some Republicans hold out hope that Trump will veto seven-week stopgap

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., left, wants the president to veto the stopgap funding measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is weighing a seven-week stopgap spending amid conservative grumbling that it caves to Democrats’ anti-border wall demands.

“My guess is they wouldn’t have brought it to the floor unless they thought they could pass it,” Rep. Bill Flores of Texas said Thursday morning. The measure hadn’t yet been officially scheduled for a vote, however, likely out of concern that the president’s position was still unclear.

Paul Ryan Aide, Rep. Adam Kinzinger Received Steele Dossier Early, Court Documents Show
Longtime associate of Sen. John McCain and Obama’s top Russia expert also received report

A court memo shows former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele gave his report on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s connections to Russia to Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, left, and an aide to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger and a longtime aide to Speaker Paul D. Ryan each were given an early look at the final report added to the infamous “Steele dossier,” court documents in a lawsuit against BuzzFeed News show.

Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who compiled the unsubstantiated research booklet in 2016 about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia before he became president, gave the report to Kinzinger and Jonathan Burks, Ryan’s longtime chief of staff, after he completed it on Dec. 13, 2016, according to the court memo.

Postal Service Prayer: Deliver Us From Fiscal Doom
White House stops short of calls for outright privatization, but big changes could lie ahead

United States Postal Service employee Gloria Hinton participates in a rally in Washington in 2011. Over the last decade, mail volume has tanked but package delivery has become more important than ever. The White House is calling for a legislative overhaul, but conflict with Congress could get in the way. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

The United States Postal Service faces a major policy shakeup at a time when package delivery has become more central to Americans’ lives than ever.

A growing reliance on e-commerce has driven demand for direct-to-door shipping for everything from textbooks to toothbrushes. And to the casual observer, USPS is playing what looks like a seamless part in the process, with more and more packages delivered the “last mile” to customers’ doors by government workers.

No Chief Out of ‘Central Casting’ This Time for ‘Unmanageable’ Trump
President needs a Hill-savvy ‘trench warfare specialist,’ GOP strategist says

President Donald Trump arrives for meeting with the House Republican Conference at the Capitol on Nov. 16, 2017. Outgoing White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly trails behind his boss and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump had been in office just a few minutes when he boasted that John F. Kelly looked like a military general straight out of a Hollywood movie, but now the president is holding a likely extended casting call for a more loyal chief of staff — one who will immediately have to navigate a thicket of congressional and federal investigations. 

As Trump searches for what will be his third top aide in two years, Republican insiders see no frontrunner or even a clear list of candidates. But what they really cannot determine is who could coexist with a chief executive who rejects his staff’s attempts to manage him and his bombastic, norms-busting approach to the job.