Skimm'd while earning cash back on online shopping

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FEBRUARY 15, 2019


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Skimm'd while earning cash back on online shopping


"Hold on to your pooch" – Cleveland's National Weather Service had to issue a warning for owners to keep dogs close. Because those winds can be fur-ocious.


The Story

President Trump isn't backing down on his US-Mexico border wall.

Very on brand. So what's the latest?

Yesterday, Congress approved a funding bill that would avoid another partial gov shutdown. It'll fund the gov through September and includes about $1.4 billion for border security that goes toward fencing. But not the $5.7 billion in wall funding Trump has been asking for. Next, Trump is expected to sign off on it. And then some.

What do you mean by 'and then some'?

Trump's planning to declare a national emergency in order to get the money for his wall.

A national emergency sounds intense.

It can be. Presidents can declare them when they believe there's some sort of crisis – but they have to justify why. A bit confusing, since there's no definition for what counts as one. This allows them to redirect federal money without Congress's approval.

And that'

Yes. It's been done dozens of times before to address things ranging from terrorism to swine flu – though it's rare to call an emergency to pay for something Congress won't. Trump claims there's a "humanitarian and security crisis" at the border, pointing to the influx of undocumented immigrants and drugs.

Is that true?

Depends who you ask. Some (including some House Republicans) say there is, and it needs to be addressed ASAP. Others (including Dems and officials in the border city of El Paso, TX) say that's not true.

Where's the money coming from?

It looks like he'll get about $3.5 billion from the Defense Dept. Specifically from its budget that's dedicated to military construction.

I'm sure Congress is just thrilled about getting sidelined.

If thrilled means threatening legal action then count them in. Many have called this executive overreach. And some Republicans are questioning whether what's happening at the border is "national emergency" worthy.


Trump had two years of a Republican-backed Congress to fulfill his campaign promise. Now he's planning to take a different approach that could test the limits of his presidential power. If he's able to declare a national emergency to get his policy agenda achieved, he opens the door for other presidents to do the same. Something many see as a slippery slope that could jeopardize America's system of checks and balances.

Skimm More: Here's more on the types of walls that could be built at the border. And whether it would even help.


What to say when your friends start piling on you...

Alright, alright I'm over this. Just like Amazon is over New York City. Yesterday, Amazon said it was pulling out of its plan to build an HQ in NYC. When Amazon announced the plan last year, there were worries it could drive up rent prices. There was also pushback over the $3 billion in incentives (think: tax breaks and more) Amazon would have gotten to move there. People protested – and City Council held hearings over how the deal was reached without public input. Now, Amazon's saying 'cancel order' – it says it needs a "supportive" relationship with local politicians in order to build its HQ2 there. *Cries over Valentine's Day chocolates.* Instead, it'll focus more attention on the other planned HQ2 it's building in Virginia. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is giving local politicians a one-star review for pushing away the 25,000 jobs Amazon would have brought to the city. And some say the move could have helped NYC compete with Silicon Valley. But others are blaming Amazon for giving up on the relationship. Speaking of big money, JPMorgan Chase is becoming the first major US bank to launch a cryptocurrency. Ka-ching.

Who people in DC are texting each other about…

Andrew McCabe. Yesterday, the former FBI deputy director said that he and top Justice Dept officials had discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. The 25th: the one that lets you remove a president if they're unfit to serve. When Trump fired then FBI Director James Comey in 2017, it raised questions about whether he was trying to interfere with the FBI's Russia investigation. So McCabe told the FBI to look into whether this counted as obstructing justice. And talked about potentially getting Trump removed. Trump said this shows there's bias against him in the FBI. Speaking of people on DC's lips: William Barr. Yesterday, he was confirmed and sworn in as the new attorney general. AGs are in charge of helping to enforce US law on everything from weed to immigration. Barr was AG under President George HW Bush in the '90s – and was known for being tough on crime and immigration. Eyes are on how he adjusts his tough-on-crime attitude now that there's a new criminal justice law in town. Dems are also watching to make sure his criticisms of the Trump-Russia investigation don't impact the special counsel's ability to do his job.

What to say when you hear the Dept of Ed was accused of not doing enough to protect people with student loans

The Senate is working to put some other protections in place. Yesterday, it unanimously passed a bill to make lynching a federal crime. We don't know why it's taken until 2019 for that to happen either. Seven presidents have called on Congress to pass laws against lynching. But the bills have gotten nowhere. Now, this Senate bill – co-sponsored by two 2020 Dem hopefuls – are calling on the House to bring this over the finish line. If it passes, lawmakers say it will send a clear message that the US is finally grappling with its history of lynching. It will also mean that if someone is ever found guilty of lynching again, they could face an enhanced sentence on par with other hate crimes – up to life in prison. That's not the only thing lawmakers are working on. Two Dems are pushing to replace gender-specific terms in the tax code like "husband" and "wife" with more LGBTQ-friendly terms like "spouse." It was intro'd on Valentine's Day because love is love.

What still isn't on mute…

R Kelly. Yesterday a report came out that there's another alleged tape of him having sex with – and urinating on – an underage girl. We'll give you a moment to control your rage. The tape is reminding everyone of the child pornography charges Kelly was acquitted of more than 10 years ago. Yes, also allegedly involving sex with and urination on an underage girl. But the woman didn't testify against Kelly and the jury ultimately cleared him. Last month, Lifetime's docuseries helped to share some stories of his alleged victims. Now, this tape is apparently giving investigators yet another thing to go after...and potentially indict him on.

What to say when you hear "All That" is making a comeback

So are barrettes.


To help celebrate Black History Month, February's Skimm Reads are from black American authors who made history.

"The Source of Self-Regard" by Toni Morrison

Fact: there can never be too many Toni Morrison books on your shelf. Her latest collection of essays, speeches, and reflections on money, race, female empowerment, and more was released earlier this week. includes the Nobel lecture she delivered after becoming the first black author to win the award for literature. Cue the chills.

PS: We picked more reads to help you celebrate Black History Month. Get them here.


For when you want to treat yourself for Single Awareness Day…

Permission fully granted. While you're at it, treat your wallet too. Bank of America's new Cash Rewards card lets you choose what you earn cash back on. Think: online shopping, dining, travel, and more. can change your rewards category every month. Do you.*

For when you want shop small…

Here's some inspiration. In honor of Black History Month, we put together a list of black entrepreneurs who are changing the game. Now you can support them all year round.

*PS This is a sponsored section.


Skimm HQ is celebrating the Presidents' birthdays on Monday. Meaning no Daily Skimm. See you back in your inbox Tuesday.


Cheers to…Kanchan S (FL), who was awarded employee of the month at her job. And to Becky S (MO), who climbed to the top of Ek Balam (one of the Mayan Ruins) on her 49th birthday.

Spotlight on…Bianca J (NE). She's the recipient of the Do Space 2019 Women Innovators Fellowship. Through that, she'll research why young women in her community are choosing to stay or leave computer science majors.

(Some) Birthdays…theSkimm's Rachel Miller (NY), Nicole Keegan (NY), Nathan Brown (LA), Arrenvy Bilinski (MD), Amanda Melendez (KY), Brittany Pulkrabek (SC), Caitlin Echelbarger (WA), Treacy Weldon (IL), Patrick Cucci (NJ), Rosie Davis (MA), US Presidents (USA), Jennifer Geist (MN), Joe Hencoski (FL), Taylor Gardner (AL), Tiffany Sanders (FL), Ying Cao (OR)

*Welcome to a new section we're testing with members of theSkimm. Want to take it to the next level? Reach out here for a chance to be featured.