Welcome to Day 35 of the partial government shutdown. It’s also the day the 800,000 federal employees affected by it get a second paycheck that reads $0.00. (Hey, Wilbur Ross, that’s why furloughed workers are going to food banks.) Are the nation’s leaders any closer to ending it? Maybe. There’s talk the Trump administration might get behind a three-week stopgap funding bill to reopen the government while the White House and Congress hash out their differences on border security. But as part of the deal, President Trump would want to include “a large down payment” on the border wall (though no one knows what that really means). And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flat out rejected the down payment idea.
Meantime, CNN has learned the White House is separately prepping a draft of a national emergency proclamation for the southern border and has found more than $7 billion to fund the border wall. Remember, Trump could declare a national emergency and direct the Defense Department to build a wall without needing Congress’ blessing.