Happy “Bounty Day,” everyone; be sure to celebrate responsibly. Now, let’s “Get More Smarter.” If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Here’s the latest news on the government shutdown, now in its 33rd day. From the Washington Post:
House Democrats are prepared to support new levels of border security funding, but not a wall, if President Trump agrees to reopen the government first, lawmakers and aides said Wednesday.
The proposal, which Democrats plan to put into a formal letter to Trump, will include border security improvements such as retrofitting ports of entry, new sensors and drones, more immigration judges and border patrol agents, and additional technology, among other measures.
The letter was not final and the exact figure Democrats will suggest was not yet determined, but aides said it would be higher than the levels Democrats have supported in the past, which have ranged from $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion.
Some Democrats suggested they would even be willing to meet Trump’s request for $5.7 billion — as long as it goes for technology and other improvements, not the physical wall the president is seeking.
Democrats remain opposed to offering any funding for Trump’s great big wall, and new polling data shows that they are on the right side of the American public. As Politico reports:
President Donald Trump’s disapproval rating is at an all-time high amid a historically long partial government shutdown and concerns about the president’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
Nearly 6-in-10 voters — 57 percent — disapprove of Trump’s job performance, compared to the 40 percent that approve. In addition, 54 percent of voters blame Trump and Republicans on Capitol Hill for the government shutdown. Only 35 percent blame congressional Democrats…
…While 43 percent support the construction of a border wall — compared to 49 percent who oppose construction — only 7 percent of voters said that they support dedicating funding to a border wall if it was the only way to end the government shutdown. [Pols emphasis]
That’s compared to 72 percent who oppose dedicating funding to a border wall if it was the only way.
In local shutdown news, CBS4 Denver reports on local “Dreamers” who see President Trump’s offer of temporary protections for immigrants as a “bargaining chip for our lives.”
► President Trump is insisting that he be allowed to deliver his State of the Union Speech in the House chambers. As CNN reports:
President Donald Trump insisted in a letter Wednesday he would deliver his annual State of the Union address from the chamber of the US House next week as planned, telling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi her concerns about security during a partial government shutdown were unfounded…
…He said the speech would occur on January 29 from the House chamber.
“It would be so very sad for our country, if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!” he wrote. [Pols emphasis]
As speaker, it is Pelosi’s prerogative to invite the President to deliver the annual address. Both the House and the Senate would need to pass resolutions convening a Joint Session of Congress before the President’s appearance. And it’s not yet clear — despite Trump’s insistence he would be appearing in the Capitol next Tuesday — whether Pelosi would take the required steps.
In times like these — with a record government shutdown and an administration under investigation for federal crimes — it’s important that we focus on the things that are most important. You know, like making sure that the State of the Union speech is delivered at its traditional location.
► Republican State Rep. Lori Saine (R-Weld County) is still getting whacked over comments she made suggesting that white and black people were lynched in equal numbers after Reconstruction (comments first reported here at Colorado Pols).
This week, Colorado Representative Lori Saine stirred controversy (again) with a “tribute” to Martin Luther King Jr. in which she argued that blacks and whites were once lynched in “almost equal numbers.” She also struck back against naysayers by claiming that a fellow white Republican was a victim of reverse racism.
This combination of idiocy and vindictiveness is Saine’s brand, as Westword has documented over the past decade.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) has introduced legislation to assist younger voters. From a press release:
Today, Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-02) introduced The Next Generation Votes Act, federal pre-registration legislation to allow for 16 and 17-year-olds to register to vote ahead of their 18th birthday. Across the nation, a growing number of states are taking up pre-registration to integrate young people into the democratic process early, at a time when they are more likely to begin interacting with government agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, where voter registration services are offered. The Next Generation Votes Act builds on work Rep. Neguse began in Colorado to enact pre-registration and online voter registration.
“Our democracy is stronger when everyone has the opportunity to participate,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “I worked on enacting pre-registration and online voter registration across the state of Colorado. The Next Generation Votes Act takes these successful programs nationwide, ensuring that our young people are engaged and active in the political process early.”
► The Mayor of South Bend, Indiana is running for President. Of the United States.
► The House Oversight Committee will investigate the Trump administration’s use of security clearances as a political weapon. From CNN:
The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday announced it was launching a “wide-ranging” probe into the White House’s handling of its security clearance process, kicking off one of the first high-profile investigations into the Trump administration by the new, Democratic-controlled chamber.
In a letter sent by committee chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings requested a range of documents related to the security clearance process, writing that the investigation was in response to “grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the Trump Administration, including by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and others.”
According to the letter, sent Wednesday morning, the goals of the investigation “are to determine why the White House and Transition Team appear to have disregarded established procedures for safeguarding classified information, evaluate the extent to which the nation’s most highly guarded secrets were provided to officials who should not have had access to them, and develop reforms to remedy the flaws in current White House systems and practices.”
► The government shutdown is starting to strain federal court operations in Colorado.
► Fox 31 Denver looks at local impacts from several recent Supreme Court decisions.
► Colorado’s congressional delegation continues to push for permanent support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
► Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is heading to Iowa this weekend to do some fact-finding stuff in advance of a likely campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
► The Colorado Sun reports on big changes in the Attorney General’s office under new AG Phil Weiser:
[Weiser] is seeking $4.2 million more in the next fiscal year than his Republican predecessor’s budget for priority initiatives and pay raises for his lawyers.
The new spending includes $550,000 to cover the cost of boosting response to the opioid crisis and $388,000 for the creation of a new unit to help cities and counties navigate legal issues around oil and gas.
The requests are part of what Weiser says is an effort to make significant updates — or innovations, as he likes to put it — throughout the Colorado Department of Law. He’s even hired his former law student as an innovation chief, the first in the nation for an attorney general, to help shepherd the charge by increasing communication and the agency’s use of technology…
…The changes represent a major shift in how the office operated under former Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman — in particular when it comes to the oil and gas industry.
► Republican Bob Rankin is now officially a State Senator.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► The first bill that Gov. Jared Polis will sign into law is about beer.
► President Trump is no Dr. Seuss.
► Very classy, Todd Brophy.
► Now this is what legislative “overreach” actually looks like.