The 2019 Government Shutdown: How It Stacks Up, and What It Really Costs

From a 30,000-foot vantage, a government shutdown doesn’t cost much. S&P Global estimates that the border-wall impasse—the longest in history, unresolved at press time—shaved only $3.6 billion off the U.S. economy over its first three weeks. But other barometers, including rising airport delays and a screeching halt in IPOs, remind us how much our commerce depends on a well-functioning state. And a recent tumble in consumer confidence points to the ripple effects of an erosion of faith in a system that routinely stops public servants from serving the public. That’s a cost that could become incalculably high.


Small Businesses’ $2 Billion Problem: Government Shutdown Leaves Loans in Limbo

The longest government shutdownin modern U.S. history is squeezing funding for many entrepreneurs.

The Small Business Administration has stopped approving routine small-business loans that the agency backs to ensure entrepreneurs have access to funds, halting their plans for expansion and repairs and forcing some owners to consider costlier sources of cash.

Honey Meadows, owner of the Westside School, a child-care center in Atlanta, plans to use a $405,000 loan guaranteed by the SBA to make needed improvements and refinance roughly $275,000 in existing debt. With SBA approvals at a standstill, Ms. Meadows can’t build a wheelchair ramp, buy a van to transport children or add classrooms and teachers.

The Wall Street Journal

10 percent of TSA workers called out Sunday as shutdown continues

The number of Transportation Security Administration agents who failed to show up for duty Sunday hit a record 10 percent, meaning long waits for travelers at checkpoints at several airports, including Minneapolis and New Orleans.

The union that represents the TSA workers, the American Federation of Government Employees, has warned since the federal shutdown began that its employees are among the lowest salaried on the federal pay scale and simply may be unable to afford to continue to work without pay.

At some airports, community groups have set up food banks for federal workers; at others, airport food vendors have donated meals.

The Washington Post

Government shutdown – live: Trump hits out at Democrats for rejecting offer of ‘compromise’ over Mexico border wall

Donald Trump lashed out at the Democrats after they rejected his so-called “compromise” proposal to end the US government shutdown and secure $5.7bn in funding for his border wall.

The president accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of being a “radical” and acting “irrationally” during a series of tweets on Sunday and blamed his opponents for the continuing impasse, which has now entered its 31st day.

Ms Pelosi responded by calling on Mr Trump to re-open the government before starting talks on border issues, while Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the president’s plan would be blocked.

To End the Shutdown, Try Thinking Big on Immigration

As the U.S. government shutdown approaches the one-month mark, one thing has become abundantly clear: Few politicians in Washington—Republican or Democrat, in Congress or the White House—consider the best interest of the country a priority. The fight is all about politics, partisanship and power.

To win the day, both sides are willing to upend the lives of 800,000 government employees and their families—and countless others who depend on the spending of those families for their own livelihoods. Some surely have to deal with unpaid mortgages and rent, medical bills, car payments and even a shortage of money for food. What do the politicians have to say for themselves for imposing such hardships?

The Wall Street Journal

Georgia’s Unnoticed, Rarely Used Immigration Review Board

ATLANTA — Georgia has a state immigration board that, in almost a decade of existence, has only served two people.

The story begins in 2011, when Georgia lawmakers passed HB 87, one of the strictest laws in the U.S. aimed at curbing illegal immigration. But a provision in the law created something unique to the state: the Immigration Enforcement Review Board (IERB), tasked with investigating complaints about municipalities not enforcing immigration laws.

US News & World Report

By the numbers: how 2 years of Trump’s policies have affected immigrants

In two years as president, Donald Trump has done more to crack down on immigrants — both those seeking to come and those already here — than most presidents have done in four or eight.

Trump’s bombastic rhetoric on immigration and his stubborn insistence on building barriers along the US-Mexico border has distinguished him from his predecessors and led to a political realignment.

But the Trump administration’s impact on immigrants’ lives goes far beyond rhetoric and political fights.

Under Trump, the departments of Homeland Security (which oversees Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement), Justice, and State have all taken steps to reduce the number of immigrants coming to the US — and make the lives of those who are already here more precarious.

Virginia steps closer to repealing ‘Jim Crow’ minimum wage exemptions

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Senate on Friday passed a bill to repeal a Jim Crow era-law that legalized wage discrimination against many African-Americans.

The Senate voted to rescind the law that allowed employers to pay less than minimum wage to “newsboys, shoe-shine boys, ushers, doormen, concession attendants and theater cashiers” — jobs to which many African-Americans were relegated decades ago.

The Senate voted 37-3 for SB 1079, which removed those exemptions from the list of jobs not covered by the Virginia Minimum Wage Act.

Trump says deal ‘could very well happen’ with China, but denies he’s considering lifting tariffs

President Donald Trump said on Saturday there has been progress toward a trade deal with China, but denied that he was considering lifting tariffs on Chinese imports.

“Things are going very well with China and with trade,” he told reporters at the White House, adding that he had seen some “false reports” indicating that U.S. tariffs on Chinese products would be lifted.

“If we make a deal certainly we would not have sanctions and if we don’t make a deal we will,” Trump said. “We’ve really had a very extraordinary number of meetings and a deal could very well happen with China. It’s going well. I would say about as well as it could possibly go.”

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States on Jan. 30 and 31 for the next round of trade negotiations with Washington.


New bill aims to ‘streamline’ SC solar industry, build protections for consumers

A new bill introduced to the S.C. legislature would potentially expand the solar power industry in the state and provide protections to homeowners who use solar panels.

The Clean Energy Access Act 2019 is sponsored by S.C. Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, and has the backing of businesses and advocates in the solar industry, such as the Solar Energy Industry Association.

“We developed this bill because the energy market in South Carolina needs to be modernized,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the SEIA in a press release. “This legislation will lead to lower electric bills for consumers and many new jobs. South Carolinians deserve the economic benefits that an expanded clean energy portfolio will provide the state.”