Skimm'd while meeting a tax whisperer

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JANUARY 28, 2019


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Skimm'd while meeting a tax whisperer


"Without social networks, she became the first 'influencer'" – Pope Francis on the Virgin Mary. But what would her handle be?


The Story

The longest government shutdown in history is over.

I heard. Now, what does that mean for the border wall?

Nothing. The spending bill that was signed did not include the $5.7 billion President Trump wanted in funding for a physical barrier on the US-Mexico border. But don't say bye to the wall just yet. The bill is only good for three weeks. Trump is hoping that's enough time to come up with a plan for how to pay for the wall, otherwise he may call a national emergency to get the funding. Or we could be looking at shutdown version 2.0.

And federal employees?

Around 800,000 federal employees who had gone without pay are headed back to work. The White House says they'll get their back pay by the end of the week. But hundreds of thousands of contractors may not get anything. Here's a way to help those that have been affected.

What about taxes?

Today is the first day of tax filing season – and tens of thousands of IRS employees are expected to go back to work. The Trump admin says 'don't worry' – taxpayers who are still getting refunds will get their cash soon. But a gov watchdog that oversees the IRS reportedly says it will take 12 to 18 months for the agency to recover from the shutdown. That's in part because IRS employees are still figuring out the new tax code. And there are also millions of pieces of mail that have gone unanswered.

What about the economy as a whole?

The US economy is expected to have lost at least $6 billion during the partial shutdown – more than what Trump was asking for the border wall.

Is Trump giving the State of the Union address tomorrow?

Eh. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly says it's not happening. But who knows.

So, what comes next?

Well, now it's back to business. And lawmakers are pulling out the agenda items that have been sitting on the back burner all month. Senate Republicans are reportedly looking into foreign policy and legislation to show support for Israel. And House Democrats are apparently looking into laws to close the gender pay gap and raise fed workers' pay.


This shutdown had a big impact on the country – from federal workers and their families to the US economy as a whole. And it's apparently causing lawmakers to take a closer look at the laws that let the gov go into shutdown mode. But until Congress and the White House can agree on a plan for border security, we may all be facing déjà vu when the spending bill deadline hits on February 15th.


What to say when you hear about the undocumented immigrants fired from a Trump golf course

In other things on President Trump's mind: Roger Stone. On Friday, his longtime adviser was arrested and charged with several crimes, including witness tampering and lying to Congress. According to special counsel Robert Mueller, Stone was in touch with a high-ranking Trump campaign official in 2016 about the release of damaging info on Hillary Clinton via WikiLeaks. Last week, the FBI raided his home. Stone's been accused of encouraging a witness to lie in front of a House committee (think: invoking "The Godfather: Part II")...among other crimes. He said he'll plead not guilty and that he won't "bear false witness" against Trump. But he says he's leaving open the possibility of cooperating with Mueller.

What still has everyone's attention…

Venezuela. Over the weekend, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at the UN Security Council and told the international community to "pick a side." ICYMI, Venezuela has two people going by 'president' right now: Nicolás Maduro – who's been accused of sending the country into economic ruin and rigging last year's election. And opposition leader Juan Guaidó – a 35-year-old who invoked the constitution to become interim prez until there are new elections. Russia, China, and Turkey are team Maduro. The US, UK, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and other Latin American countries are team Guaidó. The EU is calling for new elections. This weekend, Pompeo wanted the UN to get involved. Maduro says he won't be pressured into calling for new elections but that he may be ready to start talking things out. Both he and Guaidó are competing to get the military to back them up.

What people are watching…

Brazil. On Friday, a dam holding back mine waste collapsed, causing a mudslide and killing at least 58 people, with hundreds still missing. The company that owns the mine – Vale – apologized but said it doesn't know who's responsible. $1.3 billion of its assets have been frozen to pay for the damage. The tragedy reminded people of a similar one in 2015, when a dam run by Vale and an Australian company broke, killing 19 people in what was considered the worst environmental disaster in the country's history. In other news people are watching: the Philippines. Yesterday, two bombs exploded in a Roman Catholic cathedral there, killing at least 20 people and injuring dozens more. It happened in a region where terror groups like ISIS and the local Abu Sayyaf group have long been active. ISIS claimed responsibility for yesterday's attack.

What to say when your friend deep-cleaned their home this weekend...

Congrats. Here's who cleaned up at the Australian Open: Serbia's Novak Djokovic, who beat Rafael Nadal yesterday to get his 15th Grand Slam title. And Japan's Naomi Osaka, who got her second Grand Slam title in a row on Saturday (the first one being last year's controversial win over Serena Williams). Osaka – who is half Japanese, half Haitian – is now the first Asian player to reach no. 1 in the Women's Tennis Association rankings.

What to say when your friend hits a new career milestone...

You've become your own role model...Mindy.

What to say when you hear "Black Panther" and "The Marvelous Mrs Maisel" had a good night at the SAG Awards...

"A Star is Born" didn't...but still is keeping it so hardcore.


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Congrats to...Sara M (PA), who got her master's while pulling long work weeks training college athletes.

Spotlight on...Kelsey S (SD), who just started a job providing services to low-income students and people with disabilities. She also happens to be a new mom. All the cheers.

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