Find Us

It's Day 33 of the government shutdown, and Washington remains stuck

Image: Trash accumulates along the National Mall during the partial governm
Trash accumulates along the National Mall during the partial government shutdown. Copyright Win McNamee Getty Images file
Copyright Win McNamee Getty Images file
By Chuck Todd and Mark Murray and Ben Kamisar with NBC News Politics
Published on
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.


On this 33rd day of the partial government shutdown, who else feels like Bill Murray's character hearing "I've Got You Babe" on the alarm clock in "Groundhog Day"?

  • Business leaders are warning the shutdown is hurting the U.S. economy, as NBC's Tom Costello reports.
  • Recalled government workers - including those at the IRS - are skipping work.
  • Another poll is showing that an overwhelming majority of Americans don't think a border wall is worth a shutdown, with President Trump's job rating sitting below 40 percent.
  • Trump is still tweeting about his wall: "BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!"
  • Republicans, including those at the White House, are floating another potential solution (giving DACA recipients green cards), which would only alienate the GOP's right flank.
  • Moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats are looking for a way out.
  • And, above all, no one is really budging.

We're stuck. And there's no end in sight.

The only thing that's relatively new in this shutdown standoff is the Senate vote set for Thursday on Trump's proposal to re-open the government (with border wall funding, as well as temporary relief for DACA recipients) and a Democratic alternative that would simply re-open the government through February 8 (which the Senate passed in a voice vote before Christmas in the last Congress).

NBC's Frank Thorp says that both of these measures will likely fail, as the president's proposal needs seven Democrats to defect, while the Democratic continuing resolution (CR) needs 13 Republican senators to break to their side.

It makes you want to slam down that alarm clock, right?

If Pompeo is seriously thinking about a Senate run, what does that say about what it's like working in the Trump administration?

It's not every day that a sitting secretary of state - the person fourth in line to the presidency - is contemplating running for an open U.S. Senate seat and becoming one of 100 in that chamber. But here we are: There's buzz that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could very well run to replace retiring Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

And what's driving Republicans to want to recruit Pompeo is to prevent failed GOP gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach from running for the seat. "No one wants to relive the disaster that was the Kobach campaign," David Kensinger, who has managed successful statewide campaigns for Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, told the Kansas City Star.

But what does it say about working in the Trump administration that Pompeo running for the Senate is even a possibility? Normally, it's the other way around - a senator becomes a secretary of state.

Buttigieg announces exploratory committee

This morning, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced he is launching a 2020 presidential exploratory committee, highlighting that he's a millennial, that he's LGBT, and that he's an Afghanistan war veteran.

"We can't look for greatness in the past. Right now, our country needs a fresh start," he says in his video announcement.

Buttigieg today holds a media availability with reporters at 10:30 am ET in DC.

Updating our 2020 list: Who's in, who's out, who are we still waiting on?

Those who have filed paperwork or announced presidential bids (8)

  • Sen. Kamala Harris (who announced on January 21)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (who announced her exploratory committee on January 15)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (who announced her exploratory committee on December 31)
  • Former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro (who formally announced his decision on January 12)
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (who announced her decision to run on January 11)
  • Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney (who announced his presidential bid back on July 28, 2017!!!!)
  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (who announced his exploratory committee on January 23)
  • Failed Dem congressional candidate Richard Ojeda (who filed his FEC paperwork on November 11 - a week after losing his bid in West Virginia)

The other potential candidates we're watching (in no particular order)

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas
  • Former VP Joe Biden
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio (who is embarking on a tour of early states)
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
  • Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
  • Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe
  • Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
  • Current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
  • Outgoing Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.

Possible 2020 Dems who have declined to run (4):

  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
  • Attorney Michael Avenatti
  • Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley
  • Tom Steyer

If you're not already in the 2020 race, and if you're not Biden/Bernie/Beto/Bloomberg, how do you make a splash?

On Tuesday, we wrote about the four big names we're waiting on to enter - or to not enter - the 2020 presidential race because of their ability to shape the overall composition of the field: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke and Michael Bloomberg.


As we added, however, it's entirely possible another Democrat - Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Sherrod Brown, etc. - could end up influencing or even winning the nomination.

But the early announcements raise this question: If you're not Biden/Bernie/Beto/Bloomberg, and if you're not already in the race, how do you make a splash? Or do you have to figure out another way to get a serious look?

It's one of the motivations why a candidate gets in early. And it's one of the upcoming challenges for Booker or Klobuchar if they want in on the 2020 action.

On the 2020 trail, per NBC's Kyle Stewart

Elizabeth Warren holds an organizing event at Columbia College in Columbia, S.C… Kamala Harris appears on MSNBC's "Maddow" show.


Update in NC-9: Judge denies Republican's request to certify disputed race

Remember that still undecided - and contested - NC-9 congressional race? Well, NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell has an update: A judge denied Republican Mark Harris' request to certify the election.

"Attorneys for Harris, who finished with a 905-vote lead in November's general election, argued that the ongoing delays in the state's investigation and uncertainty about the process going forward was enough reason for the judge to intervene and grant Harris' petition."

"Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway ruled against the request, and he expressed skepticism during the two-hour hearing in Raleigh on Tuesday, suggesting that it would be an overreach for the court to determine the outcome of the election before the state board had concluded its investigation. 'Certification is not appropriate until the investigation into the protest is concluded,' Ridgeway said."

Share this articleComments