US Government Shutdown Continues
The longest government shutdown in history dragged on through the weekend, as Washington D-C experienced six inches of snow and federal workers went without paychecks.
Donald Trump could end the shutdown with a stroke of his pen, but has chosen not to do so, claiming there is a border crisis that rises nearly to the level of a national emergency. However, numbers of asylum seekers at the border have remained steady or declined over the past two years, bringing into question his claim of a crisis.
Three polls, released Monday and Sunday, show that a majority of Americans say Trump bears more blame for the shutdown than congressional Democrats.
And the 24th day of the partial government shutdown has had widespread impacts, as airport security lines clog, and economic growth takes a hit. Eight hundred thousand federal workers missed their paychecks Friday, and a quarter of the government remains closed.
This weekend, a passenger managed to board an international flight with a gun in their carry-on bag, after being screened by security at an American airport this weekend. Airlines blamed the mistake on the cuts to TSA personnel, due to the government shutdown.
Asking the President for Help
Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, today raised her concerns about the shutdown to Trump. Murkowski called the shutdown an “indefinite state of impasse” and added that it’s not good for any of us.
CNN reporters asked Murkowski about Trump rejecting a three-week bill to open the government. Murkowski responded with a question to Trump about when he would help the congress to re-open the government. She is among at least three Republican senators who suggested they would break with Trump, and support appropriations bills that do not include funding for a wall.
Auto Execs Call for End to Govt Shutdown
Auto executives gathered in Detroit on Monday, calling on the Trump administration and Congress to resolve trade disputes, and end the government shutdown, saying political uncertainty is costing the industry.
The head of Fiat, Mike Manley said the U.S. government shutdown is holding up certification of one of the company’s new heavy duty pickup truck models. Those vehicles are among the company’s most profitable products.
Concern in the auto industry about the uncertainty, created by Trump’s efforts to revamp trade and environmental policies, is weighing more heavily, as forecasters call for a slowdown in vehicle demand in the US and China during 2019.
Federal Inmates with Pay during Govt. Shutdown.
Most Inmates receive pennies on the dollar for the labor that they perform while in prison. Even though some may differ, many inmates do use that money they earn for relatives and loved one outside of the prison lines to feed family and pay child support. Federal prison guards, though are not receiving pay in light of the shutdown.
Columbia River Gorge and Shutdown
Local groups in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are calling on hikers to ‘pack in and pack out’ their garbage because the facilities are not being maintained during the government shutdown.
The scenic area is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, and while rangers are not patrolling the area during the shutdown, Gorge trails remain open.
State Legislature Back in Session
The Oregon state legislature is back in session today.
Representative Tina Kotek was re-elected to a fourth term as speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. She used her time on the House floor this morning to address the Legislature's unresolved problems with sexual misconduct.
Kotek acknowledged the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry’s recent report, that found the Oregon capitol to be a hostile workplace, based on alleged sexual harassment. The BOLI investigation came after several woman lawmakers and staffers in Salem reported that they had been harassed, most of them by former Republican State Senator Jeff Kruse.
Oregon legislators will receive ten hours of training, related to workplace culture and harassment, this week.
Judge Blocks Trump Anti-choice Rules
A US judge has blocked Donald Trump from rolling back birth control coverage in 13 states.
California judge Haywood Gilliam granted a request for a preliminary injunction in those states, along with Washington DC, while the legal action they brought moves through the courts. The new rules, which were scheduled to go into effect on Monday, would allow private companies to claim religious or moral objections to an Obamacare requirement, which provides no-cost contraceptive coverage to women, as part of health insurance plans.
California’s attorney general said that today’s court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump administration to trample on women’s access to basic reproductive care.
Los Angeles Teacher Strike
In Los Angeles today, more than 30,000 Los Angeles teachers, demanding higher pay and smaller class sizes, walked off the job.
LA has the second-largest school system in the country. The walkout affected nearly six hundred forty thousand students – many of whom say they support their teachers’ demands for better working conditions.
Some teachers in Denver also walked out on Monday amid salary negotiations, according to a video posted on the Denver Classroom Teachers Association’s Twitter page.
The LA teachers strike follows similar actions last year by teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona. All of those teachers’ strikes resulted in victories for the teachers’ unions, who were backed by students, parents and many community members.