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White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney won’t rule out possibility of another shutdown

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By Ben Kamisar

WASHINGTON — Five days ahead of the latest funding deadline, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that he “absolutely cannot” rule out the possibility of another partial government shutdown if Congress doesn’t come to an agreement that includes substantial funding for a border wall.

Mulvaney blamed the uncertainty on congressional Democrats, arguing that Democrats appear torn between the “hard-core left wing,” which sees any funding for President Donald Trump’s signature border wall as a non-starter, and a more moderate faction that appears open to compromise.

“Let’s say the hard-core left wing of the Democrat Party prevails in this negotiation and they put a bill on the president’s desk with, say, zero money for the wall, or $800 million, an absurdly low number. How does he sign that?” Mulvaney said on “Meet the Press.”

“You cannot take a shutdown off the table, and you cannot take $5.7 billion off the table,” he added, referring to Trump’s initial price tag for the wall.

But he said the “most likely outcome” would be that Congress strikes a deal palatable enough to win the president’s signature.

“If you end up some place in the middle, yes, then what you’ll probably see is the president say: ‘Yes, OK. And then I’ll go find the money some place else'” to fully fund a wall.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday” that “talks are stalled” and that there’s a “50/50 chance” that Congress can reach a deal to avoid shutting the government down for the second time in two months.

The wall remains the largest sticking point in these negotiations. Trump still says the wall is necessary. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has so far held firm on her party’s opposition to its funding.

House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland accused Mulvaney on Sunday of “threatening another unnecessary and dangerous government shutdown,” calling his remarks “irresponsible and alarming.” He said House Democrats would continue to oppose funding for “a costly and unnecessary wall that does not make us safer or address the humanitarian challenges on our border.”

A senior Democratic aide told NBC News that there are other major debates to be solved, including a Democratic push to trade funding for new border barriers for a limit on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention beds as a way to push back at the administration’s border policies.

Trump pointed to unanswered questions in debates like those while sharing his own skepticism about the chances of a deal in a tweet Sunday morning.

Republicans and Democrats have until Friday to find an agreement thanks to last month’s deal that lifted the historic 35-day partial shutdown.

Even if Congress passes something Trump supports, Mulvaney described any deal as the beginning, not the end, of Trump’s efforts to build the wall he believes is necessary to secure America’s southern border. One option floated by the president and his allies is to declar a national emergency to secure the funding, but it’s unclear whether that would survive a legal challenge.

“The president really does believe that there is a national security crisis and a humanitarian crisis at the border, and he will do something about it. So whether or not he gets $1.6 billion from Congress, whether or not he gets $2.5 [billion] or $5.7 [billion], he’s going to do whatever he legally can to secure that border,” Mulvaney said.

“There are pots of money where all presidents have access to without a national emergency. And there are ones that he will not have access to without that declaration.”

Kelly O’Donnell contributed.



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Wendy Davis to challenge Chip Roy in Texas congressional race

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Former Democratic Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis is running for Congress, she announced in a video posted to YouTube on Monday.

Davis will challenge Republican Rep. Chip Roy in Texas’ 21st congressional district.

“I’m running for Congress because people’s voices are still being silenced,” she said. “I’m running for our children and grandchildren, so they can live and love and fight for change themselves.”

Davis became a national figure in 2013 after filibustering an anti-abortion bill in the statehouse. She ran for governor in 2014, but lost by more than 20 percentage points to Greg Abbott, then the state’s Attorney General.

Roy, who previously served as a staffer to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is known as an outspoken freshman. Though the district is historically Republican, Roy’s victory is far from assured. He carried his 2018 race by less than 3 percentage points.



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Get Corbyn out now: Labour support plummets as 43% want him axed BEFORE next election

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SUPPORT for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has plummeted after a new poll has shown a shocking loss of backing from his own party members.

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Louisiana police officer suggests on Facebook that AOC be shot

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A Louisiana police officer is facing criticism over a comment he made last week suggesting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., be shot.

The officer, Charlie Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the Gretna, Louisiana, police force, called Ocasio-Cortez a “vile idiot” who “needs a round, and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” referring to her past job as a bartender, according to a screenshot posted by nola.com. According to the New Orleans-based news outlet, his comment was a reaction to a fake quote attributed to the congresswoman claiming that “we pay soldiers too much.” Both his post and Facebook account have since been taken down.

Gretna’s police chief, Arthur Lawson, told nola.com he found the post “disturbing,” adding, “This will not go unchecked.”

“I’m not going to take this lightly and this will be dealt with on our end,” he told the outlet. “It’s not something we want someone that’s affiliated with our department to make these types of statements. That’s not going to happen.”

He said that while he did not think the post constituted an actual threat, it was likely a violation of his department’s social media policy.

A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez declined a request to comment from NBC News.

The episode comes amid a week of backlash over comments President Donald Trump made that Ocasio-Cortez and three other freshmen congresswomen of color should “go back” to where they “originally came from” rather than criticize his administration. All four lawmakers are U.S. citizens and three of them, including Ocasio-Cortez, were born in the U.S.

Ocasio-Cortez was also the subject of violent and misogynistic Facebook posts in a private group where nearly 10,000 current and former Customs and Border Protection agents exchanged thoughts, a ProPublica investigation revealed.

And the four congresswomen targeted in Trump’s tweets, Ocasio-Cortez, Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., were the subject of a recent Facebook post by the Republican County Chairmen’s Association of Illinois, which labeled them the “jihad squad.”

“Political Jihad is their game,” the since-deleted post read. “If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology you’re racist.”

The state’s GOP chairman, Tim Schneider, disavowed the post Sunday night.

“Bigoted rhetoric greatly distracts from legitimate and important policy debates and further divides our nation,” Mr. Schneider said, adding, “I urge everyone who opposes them to keep the rhetoric focused on policy and ideology.”



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