The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Shutdown Funk

Federal workers have begun applying for unemployment benefits and food stamps in the face of a full month without pay

Andrew Harnik / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Thursday, January 24. It’s the 34th day of the federal-government shutdown, and The Washington Post is reporting that the White House has asked federal agencies to make a list of their programs that could be in trouble if it continues into March or April.

Meanwhile, the White House is reportedly preparing a draft proclamation for the president to declare a national emergency along the southern border, and has identified some $7 billion in potential funds to use for the wall, should he choose to.

Shutdown Showdown: The Senate voted on dueling proposals to reopen the government: one proposed by Democrats, which allotted $5.7 billion for border-security measures, though not specifically the border wall, and one supported by the Donald Trump administration, which issued temporary protections to immigrants protected by DACA in exchange for border-wall funding. Neither passed.

Pay Gap: Eight hundred thousand federal employees will likely miss their second paycheck tomorrow. Andrew Kragie reports on the human damage the shutdown inflicts as it drags on: Some federal workers have begun applying for unemployment benefits and food stamps in the face of a full month without pay.

President Guaidó?: President Trump has recognized Venezuela's opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as the country’s legitimate leader. However, his administration offered little detail about what they might do next. Does it have a plan, for instance, if Maduro arrests Guaidó and crushes rising protests?

2020 Watch: The field of Democratic presidential contenders has filled up quickly. But the first stops in the primary process, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, will likely narrow it down, reports Ronald Brownstein.

Failure to Launch: In a soon-to-be-released book, a former White House official writes that, in 2017, Trump offered NASA “all the money you could ever need” to make it to Mars by the end of his first term. Here’s why that ambition isn’t scientifically possible.


A National Police officer fires rubber bullets during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela. Manaure Quintero / Reuters

Ideas From The Atlantic

Florida’s New Governor Is Showing the GOP a Different Path Forward (Reihan Salam)
“Rather than simply react to new political currents, as he did when he embraced the Tea Party moment and, later, when he climbed aboard the #TrumpTrain, [Ron] DeSantis is now trying to anticipate what will come next. Though campaigning as a Trumpist was enough to secure him a razor-thin margin of victory, Florida voters seem to want a pragmatic problem-solver ... To ensure his future political success, DeSantis has wisely decided to move in that direction.” → Read on.

Democrats Are Blowing a Golden Opportunity (Peter Beinart)
“Democrats are even willing to give Trump the $5.7 billion in border funding he’s demanding—just as long as it funds ‘retrofitting ports of entry, new sensors and drones, more immigration judges and Border Patrol agents, and additional technology.’ Anything but a wall. As public policy, this makes no sense.” → Read on.

The New American Empire (Bernard-Henri Lévy)
“What is the internet if not a modern panopticon? But it is a two-sided one, a panopticon that can be turned around. Operated from the top down, it gives [Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple], governments, and other actual or would-be major players full power to observe, monitor, and control those under their dominion. But the tools wielded by those at the top are not much better than those available to the people at the bottom.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

The Silent Majority of Democratic House Freshmen (Ella Nilsen and Dylan Scott, Vox)

Young Voters Keep Moving to the Left on Social Issues, Republicans Included (Dan Levin, The New York Times)

Trump’s Loyal Senate Republicans (A. B. Stoddard, The Bulwark)

The Unfinished Business of Bernie Sanders (Jason Zengerle, GQ)

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