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The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Cashing in Their CHIP

By Elaine Godfrey

Today in 5 Lines

A three-day shutdown of the federal government came to an end after Senate Democrats accepted an offer from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a continuing resolution funding the government and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, while postponing debate on immigration legislation. The Senate voted 81-18 to pass the bill, which later passed in the House. In a statement, President Trump said he’s “pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses.” During his speech to the Israeli parliament, Vice President Mike Pence stressed the administration’s commitment to relocate the American embassy. And the U.S. Army is reportedly preparing to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan by as many as 1,000.


Today on The Atlantic

  • ‘This Is a Direct Attack on the Church’: The U.S. Catholic Church is pushing back against the Trump administration’s decision to end Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans, many of whom are very active in their church communities. (Emma Green)

  • Who’s the Shutdown Victor?: A White House official told Elaina Plott that Congress’s agreement to reopen the government was a “win for the White House; loss for Schumer.”

  • Dreamers in Limbo: Immigration activists are disappointed—and in some cases, outraged—by Democrats’ decision to back a stopgap spending bill without a DACA deal. (Priscilla Alvarez)

  • Snow Day: Many federal employees were asked not to come to work on Monday as a result of the government shutdown. Here’s what some had planned for their day off. (Elaine Godfrey)

Follow stories throughout the day with our Politics & Policy portal.


Snapshot

Senator Susan Collins and Senator Joe Manchin clink glasses in a toast as they wait to speak at a news conference on Capitol Hill after Senators reached an agreement to advance a bill ending government shutdown. Andrew Harnik / …read more

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How Federal Workers Spent Their Unexpected Day Off

By Elaine Godfrey

It was almost 60 degrees in Washington on Monday, without a hint of snow in the forecast, but some federal workers got the day off, anyway.

One analyst working in the Government Affairs Office told me in an email that he was mentally preparing himself for a days- or even weeks-long period without pay due to the government shutdown. But now that a deal has been reached, he said, “today just feels like one of the lesser holidays, like Columbus Day.” The analyst, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press, said he and his wife spent the afternoon at Costco, stocking up on toilet paper, eggs, and milk. He also split a slice of pizza with his daughter. “All in all, not a bad deal in exchange for congressional inaction,” he told me.

Lawmakers failed to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government last week, so starting midnight on Friday, non-essential arms of the government ceased operations. On Monday, many non-essential employees in Washington were asked to come to their offices and receive their furlough paperwork—documents ordering them not to work.

Many federal workers were upset by this turn of events, unable to continue experiments, work on critical projects, or otherwise serve the public. But some federal employees I spoke with found the unexpected day off rather liberating.

On my walk toward the State Department’s Foggy Bottom offices, I noticed Mary Ann Rashid walking hurriedly up Virginia Avenue, lugging a large shoulder bag bursting with papers. I took a wild guess: “Federal employee?” I asked; she smiled, and pulled out a packet of furlough papers. “It says that I shouldn’t be here until I’m told to come back,” she told me.

Rashid didn’t seem angry, just slightly exasperated. …read more

Via:: The Atlantic

      

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Why Can’t People Hear What Jordan Peterson Is Saying?

By Conor Friedersdorf

My first introduction to Jordan B. Peterson, a University of Toronto clinical psychologist, came by way of an interview that began trending on social media last week. Peterson was pressed by the British journalist Cathy Newman to explain several of his controversial views. But what struck me, far more than any position he took, was the method his interviewer employed. It was the most prominent, striking example I’ve seen yet of an unfortunate trend in modern communication.

First, a person says something. Then, another person restates what they purportedly said so as to make it seem as if their view is as offensive, hostile, or absurd.

Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and various Fox News hosts all feature and reward this rhetorical technique. And the Peterson interview has so many moments of this kind that each successive example calls attention to itself until the attentive viewer can’t help but wonder what drives the interviewer to keep inflating the nature of Peterson’s claims, instead of addressing what he actually said.

This isn’t meant as a global condemnation of this interviewer’s quality or past work. As with her subject, I haven’t seen enough of it to render any overall judgement—and it is sometimes useful to respond to an evasive subject with an unusually blunt restatement of their views to draw them out or to force them to clarify their ideas.

Perhaps she has used that tactic to good effect elsewhere. (And the online attacks to which she’s been subjected are abhorrent assaults on decency by people who are perpetrating misbehavior orders of magnitude worse than hers.)

But in the interview, Newman relies on this technique to a remarkable extent, making it a useful illustration of a much broader pernicious trend. Peterson was not evasive or unwilling to be clear about his meaning. And Newman’s exaggerated restatements of his …read more

Via:: The Atlantic

      

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‘We’re Back at Square One’

By Priscilla Alvarez

Pro-immigrant activists reacted to news of a bipartisan pact to reopen the federal government with disappointment, resignation, and in some cases, outright anger at Democrats for agreeing to the deal.

“[Democrats] turned their back on us,” said Eliso Magos, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiary, and an organizer for CASA, a Maryland-based organization that focuses on Latinos and immigrants. “It’s stressful as a DACA recipient not to know what’s going to happen next.” Magos’s work permit is set to expire in December 2019; he’s waiting for his permit to be renewed.

On Monday, the Senate voted for a stopgap spending bill—three days after the government first shut down. “The Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement: We will vote to reopen the government,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Democrats and a handful of Republicans had originally voted against funding the government unless the status of 700,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally, and who were protected by the DACA program rescinded by the Trump administration in September, was dealt with.

Three days into the shutdown, however, Democrats changed their tune after an assurance from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the chamber would consider a bill dealing with undocumented immigrants spared by the now-defunct Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by the next funding deadline, February 8. “While this procedure will not satisfy all on both sides, it’s a way forward,” Schumer said. “I’m confident that we can get the 60 votes in the Senate for a DACA bill. And now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate. It is a good solution, and I will vote for it.”

It was yet another defeat for activists who just last month were urging …read more

Via:: The Atlantic

      

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Republicans Claim Victory in the Shutdown Fight

By Elaina Plott

On Monday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed a scrum of reporters in the Capitol to announce that Democrats would provide the votes to keep the government open until February 8, given Mitch McConnell’s agreement to address “Dreamers” on the Senate floor next month.

The White House was quick to boast that Democrats had “cave[d].” “Win for White House; Loss for Schumer,” one official who had been involved in the talks texted me. “He didn’t really get much.”

Of course, the reality is that President Donald Trump didn’t have much to do with the deal—his last meeting with Schumer to avoid a shutdown was famously unproductive. Yet the official, speaking on condition of anonymity so as to describe confidential conversations, assured me that Trump’s legislative affairs team has been on the Hill in the last several days “working this” and giving “regular updates” to the president, who, the source added, “has been very engaged.”

Democrats are already struggling how to spin this development, especially when, just three days ago, they held a hard line against funding the government, energizing their base with the promise to protect DACA recipients. But one Senate Democratic source, who asked not to be named so as to discuss private conversations with senators, told me that something like reality shone through in the interim. The Democratic caucus became increasingly uncomfortable with the “mixed poll numbers” on which side would take the blame should the shutdown continue. And with Democrats’ edge over Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections softening, continuing the shutdown didn’t seem worth the gamble. I asked the source how Democrats would try to frame the day, and the source, who’s been on the Hill for over a decade, was at a loss: “If you had told me yesterday this is where we’d be, I would …read more

Via:: The Atlantic

      

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The Democrats Relent

By Russell Berman

Senate Democrats have given in.

A three-day shutdown of the federal government is about to end after Senate Democrats dropped their filibuster of a stopgap spending bill and accepted an offer from the Republican leadership to debate an immigration proposal by early February.

“The Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement: We will vote today to reopen the government,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said early Monday afternoon.

A bipartisan majority of the Senate was set to vote early Monday afternoon to advance legislation to fund the government for the next three weeks, through February 8. A final vote is expected shortly, and House Republican leaders have indicated they’ll swiftly pass the measure and send it to President Trump for his signature.

In an offer made Sunday night, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell committed that if Democrats reopened the government, the Senate would consider legislation by  the next funding deadline that would provide legal status for young immigrants about to lose their protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Schumer initially balked at the proposal, and liberal activists quickly panned the offer as an “empty promise” from a GOP leader who was either unwilling or unable to deliver an immigration deal that could pass Congress.

“We’ve heard this record before, just last month in fact,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who spoke on a conference call with other top progressive activists urging Democrats to stand their ground. “It’s simply the same broken record repeating the same broken promises. Democrats must not dance to Mitch McConnell’s tune.”

A bipartisan group of senators sought stronger assurances from McConnell, and by the noon vote, enough Democrats were apparently satisfied. Yet there was little they could do to sugarcoat the outcome: Democrats will come out of …read more

Via:: The Atlantic

      

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The Disappearing Dealmaker

By David A. Graham

If ever there were a time for a dealmaker in Washington, this weekend was it. Friday, as a shutdown loomed, it seemed as though Republicans and Democrats would be able to reach some accommodation to fund the government, but in the wake of that failure, the mood turned bitter over the weekend.

With leaders in Congress at an impasse, the most logical person to step in and broker an arrangement was the president of the United States. That’s usually the case, but it’s especially true now, with a president whose name, thanks to his first book, is practically synonymous with deals. And yet, Donald Trump remained strangely absent. Oh, sure, the president was tweeting, but he offered mostly uncharacteristically bland restatements of the White House line that it was all Democrats’ fault. After meeting with Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Friday, Trump stayed largely on the sidelines.

Late Monday morning, leaders of Congress struck a deal to reopen the government, without any apparent help from Trump—though the deal is only a short-term agreement, and resolves none of the issues that sparked the shutdown in the first place, setting up the prospect of a similar shutdown in the near future.

The deal was struck between Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The great dealmaking president sat on the sidelines,” Schumer said on Monday, as he announced the arrangement, accusing Trump of being unwilling to “take yes for an answer.”

So many times in this presidency, the president’s opponents have prayed for his aides to control the impulsive, untutored Trump, while Trump’s own self-styled defenders have demanded that Trump be allowed to be Trump. The shutdown brought about a strange role-reversal: It was moderates and Democrats who wished that aides would let Trump be his volatile self, while his staff desperately tried …read more

Via:: The Atlantic

      

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This Is Not the Israel Trip Mike Pence Had Planned

By Emma Green

JERUSALEM—Mike Pence was greeted in Israel’s center of government on Monday in the way of a dear friend. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu beamed as he stood with the American vice president in his offices. “I have had the privilege over the years of standing here with hundreds of leaders and welcomed them, all of them, to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem,” he said. “This is the first time that I stand here where both leaders can say those three words: ‘Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.’”

“It is my great honor, on behalf of the president of the United States, to be in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem,” Pence replied, similarly emphasizing the word capital. “But also, I look forward to speaking with you in detail about the opportunity for peace.” When President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and vowed to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv in December, he “did so convinced … that we would create an opportunity to move on in good-faith negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” Pence said.

The vice president may be in Israel trying to secure the peace that has eluded the country for well more than 70 years. But his visit underscores just how far Trump has moved the administration away from facilitating that future.

During his speech to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, Pence reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to moving the American embassy, promising that it will open next year. But in the weeks since Trump made his initial announcement, leaders from across the Middle East have spoken fatalistically about the possibility of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. After Trump’s announcement, the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, publicly declared his refusal to meet with Pence. The vice president will skip his planned visit to Bethlehem and the West Bank, which was part of the originally …read more

Via:: The Atlantic

      

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‘An Assault on the Body of the Church’

By Emma Green

A woman fled El Salvador in fear of violence, just months before a deadly series of earthquakes destroyed many Salvadorans’ lives and homes. She settled in Maryland with her husband’s family and started to build a life. She worked first in hotel housekeeping, then as a teaching assistant at a neighborhood school. She had four children, who excelled in school. She invested deeply in her local Catholic church, serving as a catechist and usher, working with kids on Sunday mornings, and hosting a small prayer group in her home.

Now, after nearly two decades in the United States, the Trump administration may be sending her back to El Salvador, a country that still suffers from one of the world’s highest homicide rates, destabilizing gang activity, and a stalled economy. Many immigration advocates have pushed back on the decision, but perhaps none more strongly than the U.S. Catholic Church. Catholic leaders see these deportations not as a left-right political issue, but as threat to the families that make up the heart of their communities. As one local priest told me, “I see it as an assault on the body of the Church.”

The woman described above—whom I spoke with through a translator, and who asked that her name be withheld out of concern for her safety—is one of nearly 200,000 Salvadorans in the U.S. who, until recently, had Temporary Protected Status, known as TPS. This federal program, created under George H. W. Bush, shields immigrants who cannot return to their home countries for safety reasons. In early January, the Trump administration revoked TPS for Salvadorans, who composed the majority of TPS recipients. In November, it did the same for Haitians who came to the U.S. after a massive earthquake in 2010. Immigration advocates fear it may soon end protections for Hondurans, another …read more

Via:: The Atlantic

      

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The Shutdown Will Go On

By Russell Berman

The federal government will not reopen on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Democratic leaders rejected an offer from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to consider immigration legislation in the next three weeks if they agreed to end the shutdown.

A large bipartisan group representing more than one-fifth of the Senate had been working throughout the weekend to resolve, at least temporarily, the stalemate that shut down the government on Saturday. Their goal was to nip the shutdown in the bud, avoiding the need to furlough hundreds of thousands of federal workers on Monday morning.

But shortly after 9 p.m Eastern, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer rebuffed McConnell’s attempt to vote on a bill that would have restored federal funding for three weeks and kept the government open while party leaders negotiated a much broader agreement encompassing the budget, disaster aid, children’s health care, and most delicately, the fate of nearly 700,000 young immigrants whose protections from deportation are set to end in early March. “Talks will continue,”  Schumer said, “but we have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward that would be acceptable to both sides.”

Instead, the Senate is set to hold its next key vote Monday at noon. The question now is whether the two parties and the White House can strike a deal by then, or if not, whether a handful of Democrats will break with their party and accept McConnell’s offer to reopen the government. Moments after McConnell made his offer, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona announced he would support his proposal for a three-week continuing resolution. Late Friday night, Flake had voted with Democrats to block a four-week stopgap spending measure and shutter the government.

Despite the spin offered by both parties, the tenor of the talks throughout the weekend seemed to reflect a …read more

Via:: The Atlantic

      

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