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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► While you were sleeping, the federal government shut down and then re-opened again. We’ll let the Washington Post take it from here:
President Trump ended the second government shutdown of his tenure early Friday morning, signing a sweeping spending bill hours after Congress backed the bipartisan budget deal that stands to add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending on the military, domestic programs and disaster relief.
The 240-to-186 House vote gaveled to a close just after 5:30 a.m., nearly four hours after the Senate cleared the legislation on a vote of 71 to 28, with wide bipartisan support.
But action did not come soon enough to avoid a brief government shutdown — the second in three weeks — thanks to a one-man protest from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who delayed the Senate vote past midnight to mark his opposition to an estimated $320 billion addition to the federal budget deficit.
After signing the bill, Trump used his Twitter machine to say that Congress wouldn’t be able to pass a more cost-conscious budget until more Republicans are elected to office. As James Hohmann writes for the Washington Post, hypocrisy abounds:
This is the largest increase in federal spending since the stimulus passed during the depths of the Great Recession. Republicans almost universally opposed that bill in 2009, which cost $787 billion over 10 years, on the grounds that it would increase the debt too much…
…Rand doesn’t have a totally clean nose here. He voted in December for the tax bill that will grow the debt by more than $1 trillion over the next decade — and probably more. His pushback is that overhauling the code will generate economic growth to offset the lost revenue.
Because Republicans slashed taxes and are now jacking up spending, the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget forecasts that this bill will ensure permanent trillion-dollar deficits. The projected deficit in 2019 is now $1.1 trillion, compared to $439 billion in 2015. (Don’t forget, Trump called for an additional $1.5 trillion infrastructure package during his State of the Union.)
Politico ponders whether we just lived through “the dumbest shutdown ever.”
► White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned on Wednesday amid allegations of extensive spousal abuse. As the New York Times reports, top Trump staffers were well aware of Porter’s background but chose to ignore it instead:
White House officials conceded Thursday that they regretted the way they handled accusations against Rob Porter, the staff secretary who resigned Wednesday after two former wives publicly accused him of abusing them. But they refused to provide any information about when President Trump’s most senior advisers first learned about the episodes.
Mr. Porter abruptly departed the West Wing on Thursday afternoon, one day after John F. Kelly, the chief of staff, and other senior officials had issued statements defending him and said they would prefer that he remain in his post.
Among the questions he left behind was whether Mr. Kelly and other members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle had been willing to ignore accusations of domestic violence to protect a trusted aide. Raj Shah, the deputy White House press secretary, said that Mr. Kelly had not been made “fully aware” of them until this week. But two people close to the White House said that Mr. Kelly and Joe Hagin, the deputy chief of staff for operations, as well as Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, had known of the issues since late fall.
Domestic violence allegations had prevented Porter from obtaining a top security clearance, which makes it very difficult for top White House staffers to pretend they didn’t know about Porter’s violent past.
► Republicans on Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee are blocking funding for Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission in part because of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that has yet to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Republicans are sad that Colorado businesses are not allowed to discriminate against gay people.
► Senate Republicans in the Colorado legislature are almost at the point where they just pretend not to recognize the name Randy Baumgardner. We will not stand for sexual harassment! We will sit on our hands instead.
Colorado Democrats, meanwhile, are calling on Baumgardner and his mustache to resign from the State Senate immediately.
Get even more smarter after the jump…