The White House’s top economist on Wednesday said the economy could completely stall in the first three months of 2019 if the government shutdown does not end, drawing a sharp contrast with the rosy economic picture President Trump has tried to paint during the month-long funding lapse.
White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett, in a CNN interview, was asked whether the economy’s growth rate for the first quarter of the year could fall to 0 percent if policymakers don’t step in soon.
“Yes, we could” see that, he said. “If it extended for the whole quarter, and given the fact that the first quarter [growth rate] tends to be low because of residual seasonality, then you could end up with a number very close to zero in the first quarter.”
It represented the most dire forecast yet from a Trump administration official on the shutdown’s economic toll. [Continue reading…]
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday rescinded her invitation to President Trump to deliver the State of the Union address in the House next week, in an escalating standoff between two of the most powerful people in the nation.
Weeks into the longest government shutdown in history, Trump ignored Pelosi’s suggestion that he reschedule the speech due to security concerns and vowed to show up Tuesday night.
But within hours, Pelosi effectively canceled the prime-time speech, saying it wouldn’t happen until Trump reopened the government. Trump, faced with that reality, said he would be doing “something in the alternative.” [Continue reading…]
One FBI special agent said the partial government shutdown has “eliminated any ability to operate.” Another said the job has “never been so hard or thankless.” A third said agents cannot “protect and serve the American people.”
The anonymous testimonials came in a report Tuesday by the FBI Agents Association, which advocates for more than 14,000 active and former FBI special agents, detailing how the longest-ever government shutdown hinders the agency’s operations.
“The shutdown has eliminated any ability to operate,” said one unnamed special agent, who the report said is working on counter-intelligence matters against a top threat to the United States’ national security. “It’s bad enough to work without pay, but we can only conduct administrative functions while doing it. The fear is our enemies know they can run freely.” [Continue reading…]