President Trump’s schedule (EST):
11:30 AM: Meets with the House Problem Solvers Caucus;
1:00 PM: Has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; and
2:15 PM: Signs S.24, the “Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019,”
requiring retroactive compensation for furloughed and other unpaid federal workers.
Russia sanctions resolution test vote fell 2 short of 60. At 4:47 PM yesterday, the Senate voted 57-42 in favor of the motion to proceed to S.J.Res.2, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) resolution to disapprove of President Trump’s attempt to lift sanctions on three Russian corporations, EN+, Rusal, and ESE, press release. That means breaking a filibuster and passing the resolution would require the support of two more Republicans and absent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). That cloture vote is set for 12:30 PM today.
Government reopening and disaster relief bill to pass the House today. Late this afternoon, after considering 15 amendments, the House is expected to pass the Disaster Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R.268, in hope that the Senate might take it up. It would reopen the government for three weeks and provide $12.1 b. of disaster relief. The Senate won’t take this up.
2020 Census: “Court Blocks Trump Administration From Asking About Citizenship.” Yesterday’s New York Times article led with:
WASHINGTON — A federal judge blocked the Commerce Department from adding a question on American citizenship to the 2020 census, handing a legal victory on Tuesday to critics who accused the Trump administration of trying to turn the census into a tool to advance Republican political fortunes.
The ruling marks the opening round in a legal battle with potentially profound ramifications for federal policy and for politics at all levels, one that seems certain to reach the Supreme Court before the printing of census forms begins this summer.
The upcoming census count will determine which states gain or lose seats in the House of Representatives when redistricting begins in 2021. When the Trump administration announced last year it was adding a citizenship question to the census, opponents argued the results would undercount noncitizens and legal immigrants — who tend to live in places that vote Democratic — and shift political power to Republican areas.
In a lengthy and stinging opinion, Judge Jesse M. Furman of the United States District Court in Manhattan said that Wilbur L. Ross Jr., the commerce secretary, broke “a veritable smorgasbord” of federal rules when he ordered the citizenship question added to the census nearly a year ago. Judge Furman said Mr. Ross cherry-picked facts to support his views, ignored or twisted contrary evidence and hid deliberations from Census Bureau experts.
No matter how this legal battle turns out, it will further delay preparations for the 2020 Census. Census workers are furloughed, adding to the problem.
“IRS Operations During the Appropriations Lapse.” Yesterday’s Internal Revenue Service press release and 132-page detailed plan for tax professionals puts 46,052 of 80, 265 IRS employees back to work without pay, but there will be no taxpayer or identity theft victim assistance, no audits or enforcement activities other than criminal investigations, and no support for State Department passport issuance. Yesterday’s action was done primarily to allow refunds to be issued. Nonetheless, we’re likely to see increased fraud and an inability to process some returns.
“Working-Family Tax Credits Lifted 8.9 Million People out of Poverty in 2017.” Yesterday afternoon’s Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analysis stated: