Shutdown throws Trump’s Davos trip into doubt

President Donald Trump may not get to Davos after all.

The Senate’s failure to reach a deal to reopen the federal government Sunday night threw Trump’s planned trip to the annual Swiss Alps schmooze-fest into question.

Trump could still make the trip late in the week if the shutdown ends in time, two senior administration officials said Sunday. Trump is slated to speak toward the end of the summit, which begins Tuesday and runs through Friday.

But plans for the entire Trump delegation are in flux. The Senate has another vote scheduled for Monday at noon to reopen the government but passage is not assured.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was scheduled to fly out to Davos on Monday to lead a large administration delegation to the World Economic Forum annual meeting ahead of Trump’s arrival. But those plans were also being reconsidered late Sunday as the shutdown dragged toward its Continue reading “Shutdown throws Trump’s Davos trip into doubt”

Shutdown threatens Trump’s economic winning streak

With Republicans and Democrats failing to cut a last-minute deal, the federal government shutdown could exact at least a small toll on the U.S. economy.

Furloughed federal workers and frozen government contracts, among other damage, will likely draw billions of dollars out the economy for every day the government remains shuttered. The stock market — once described by President Donald Trump as a “big fat ugly bubble” — could also find a reason to stage a sell-off that many on Wall Street believe is long overdue.

Generally, brief government shutdowns are much less damaging to the economy, and overall business and consumer confidence, than fights over raising the nation’s debt limit that could end in catastrophic default. But they still exact pain, analysts say.

And depending on how long a shutdown lasts, it could slice away some potential economic growth in the first quarter of the year, possibly limiting Continue reading “Shutdown threatens Trump’s economic winning streak”

Democrats to Trump on infrastructure: Show us the money

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Taking serious action to address the crumbling state of U.S. infrastructure is likely to cost far more than the Trump administration is reportedly willing to spend, says a key Senate Democrat overseeing infrastructure policy.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), an Amtrak enthusiast who commutes to Washington on the train, said on the latest POLITICO Money podcast that he hopes the White House will put forth a serious infrastructure proposal that could garner Democratic support. But early reports on the White House plan, which suggest a federal contribution of around $200 billion, do not give him great confidence.

“I think most people understand if we want to have better roads, highways, bridges, trains … we gotta pay for them,” said Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which would play a major Continue reading “Democrats to Trump on infrastructure: Show us the money”

Demoralized Trump aides grapple with ‘shithole’-gate

White House aides were demoralized on Thursday night, watching the word “shithole” slink across the cable news chyrons.

In the wake of the administration’s tax reform coup, Fiat Chrysler had just announced it planned to spend more than $1 billion to move its assembly plant for the Ram truck from Mexico to Michigan. Walmart touted a round of bonuses and a higher pay for its U.S. workers.

And the White House communications team had pre-planned a sit-down interview for the president with reporters from the Wall Street Journal on Thursday – an outlet they expected would focus on economic news and help drive the message of the day.

Instead, all of that was lost amid “shithole”-gate, after the president, frustrated that an immigration deal would include protections for people from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, referred to those nations as “shithole countries” and expressed an interest in welcoming Continue reading “Demoralized Trump aides grapple with ‘shithole’-gate”

Steven Mnuchin’s ever-expanding orbit

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin loves being at the center of the White House action, a place he found himself again on Thursday, in the briefing room talking about the latest round of corporate pay hikes and bonuses.

The latest West Wing appearance was right in Mnuchin’s sweet spot, on the implementation and impact of the big GOP tax cut bill. But the Treasury secretary keeps trying to insert himself into other major policy debates, from the Iran deal and North Korea to trade, infrastructure, and the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity efforts.

This always-on-the-scene behavior is causing tension with White House chief of staff John Kelly, who has tried to impose structure and keep people in their lanes, as well as with other senior administration officials and fellow Cabinet members, according to a dozen current and former senior administration officials and close advisers to the White House.

Mnuchin arrived in Continue reading “Steven Mnuchin’s ever-expanding orbit”

‘The world is on the edge right now’: Jack Lew on a risky global landscape

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NEW YORK — The Trump administration has gotten lucky so far on the economy and in the stock market, according to former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

In the latest POLITICO Money podcast, Lew said President Donald Trump inherited a good economy and has benefited from a remarkable period of calm in global politics and economics. But it could all come unglued in 2018 with a flare-up in North Korea, a White House-sparked trade war or a big run up in deficits.

“They’ve had a lot of luck so far. We, in our first few years and for a long time, there was a crisis that exploded that you just had to deal with,” Lew said from his office at investment firm Lindsay Goldberg in midtown Manhattan. “The world is on the edge right now but is Continue reading “‘The world is on the edge right now’: Jack Lew on a risky global landscape”

Coming soon to Davos: A Trump stink bomb

The annual gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, will be choking with the kind of people who disdain Donald Trump and genuinely regard his presidency as a menace to the planet. In other words: Exactly the kind of party Trump loves to crash.

Lots of very rich people. Lots of media. Lots of fevered what-is-he-really-up-to speculation. At the psychological level, the appeal of Davos for Trump is obvious.

The startling—though in some ways eye-rollingly logical—news on Tuesday that Trump will join all manner of global financial, political and media elites in their famed alpine lair later this month was for months quietly in the making, administration officials said.

WEF organizers had been lobbying for months for high-level administration participation, though they hadn’t been counting on more than a cabinet secretary or two.

What planners didn’t know was that some West Wing advisers were arguing that Davos would Continue reading “Coming soon to Davos: A Trump stink bomb”