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W E E K L Y  U P D A T E January 23, 2019
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Shutdown Update: Small Chance of Conclusion with Thursday Vote

Now in its fifth week, the government shutdown continues to drag on into the new year and new Congress.   In Washington, D.C.,  long lines of furloughed federal employees  have wrapped around the building holding chef José Andrés' Think Food Lab, where the humanitarian chef is giving out free meals to government workers for the duration of the shutdown.

A possible end to the shutdown is in sight, however.  The Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday afternoon on two bills.  The first would reopen the government, provide $5.7 billion for President Trump's border wall, provide temporary relief for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, and around $12 billion in disaster relief funding.  This bill also includes a number of fringe immigration policies designed to limit legal immigration into the United States, what many are calling "poison pills" that are sure to scuttle the Democratic support necessary to pass legislation.  

The second bill is a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open with disaster relief but no border wall funding, which the House passed last week.  Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that even a clean CR would receive enough Republican support to pass the Senate without the President's support, despite the fact that the Senate passed a clean CR last month by voice vote.  That being said, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had refused to allow a vote on the CR until this agreement was made, so this is still progress towards some resolution.

For more information, please contact  Eric Heath , Senior Policy Counsel for the Mississippi River Basin Program at the Northeast-Midwest Institute .

Shutdown Impacts Federal Workers, School Lunches, Food Stamps, National Security, and More

While the political brinkmanship of the government shutdown continues in Washington, D.C. and on cable news networks, the adverse affects of the lapse in federal funding continue to ripple throughout the rest of the country.  The examples below are just a sample of the far-reaching harm caused by the shutdown.

Federal workers are not only staring down a second missed paycheck at the end of this week, but now they are also being forced to foot the bill for government issued credit cards.  

School districts throughout the U.S. are struggling to provide school lunches for their low income students.  With the U.S. Department of Agriculture shutdown, schools no longer receive federal dollars reimbursing them for the free and reduced price lunches they offer students with parents who struggle financially.

More than 2500 retailers nationwide are currently not accepting food stamps during the shutdown because their license to process SNAP dollars has lapsed and cannot be renewed until the government reopens.  

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's labor union has released a substantial report highlighting the security risks involved in forcing agents to work without pay during the shutdown.

The Northeast-Midwest Institute will continue to highlight the growing costs and harms caused by the shutdown for as long as it continues. 

For more information, please contact  Eric Heath , Senior Policy Counsel for the Mississippi River Basin Program at the Northeast-Midwest Institute .
US Army Corps Extends Review Period of Brandon Road Draft Feasibility Study

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended the review period of "The Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) - Brandon Road Integrated Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - Will County, Illinois." 

The end of the review changed from January 7, 2019 to February 22, 2019. The report is posted to the project website  here.

For more information, please contact  Matt McKenna , Director of the Great Lakes Washington Program, at the Northeast-Midwest Institute.
This Week in Washington

The House and Senate are still finalizing committee and subcommittee assignments, so committee activity will be limited for the time being.  The Northeast-Midwest Institute will monitor the assignments and provide an update on relevant committees when the information becomes available. 

In the Senate:

In the House:

NEMWI: Strengthening the Region that Sustains the Nation