Shutdown on hold, federal employees return to work
Most federal office workers will be back at their desks Monday after President Donald Trump signed a deal temporarily ending the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Agencies will reopen for three weeks while lawmakers negotiate over Trump’s demand for funding for a southern border wall. About 800,000 federal employees who went without paychecks during the shutdown should almost all get their back pay by the week’s end, a top White House official said Sunday. The paychecks this week are crucial: Workers might find them cut off again next month.
As El Chapo trial nears end, will the alleged drug lord testify?
The trial that could send accused Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to prison for life is moving toward a conclusion: Closing arguments may be as soon as this week. The timetable could be disrupted if Guzmán speaks in his own defense, to rebut the avalanche of testimony provided by Guzmán’s former associates. Defense lawyers raised the possibility when they included their client’s name on the list of witnesses they might call. They’ll probably make a final decision when the government rests its case, as early as Monday.
The IRS is now accepting tax returns
The Internal Revenue Service will start accepting tax returns Monday, the agency said earlier this month, following assurances that tax refunds would still be sent out during a government shutdown. The IRS had planned to recall a “significant portion” of workers who had been furloughed during the shutdown to process tax returns. Another shutdown could complicate what already will be a unique filing year that incorporates for the first time major changes to the tax code.
Dems are panning Howard Schultz’s potential 2020 bid
Former Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz launches a tour Monday to promote his latest book as he considers a presidential bid in 2020 as an independent, an idea generating hostile responses among Democrats. Many worry an independent bid from Schultz could draw support from the eventual Democratic nominee and hand President Donald Trump another four years in office. The 65-year-old Seattle billionaire’s book tour has stops this week from New York to San Francisco – but no dates listed for Iowa or New Hampshire.
After Los Angeles, more teachers ready strikes
The Los Angeles teachers’ strike is behind us, but more tension lies ahead: Teachers in Virginia plan to rally at the Capitol on Monday for more education funding. Back in California, Oakland teachers will vote this week on whether to strike. In Denver, a strike planned for Monday is on hold, pending a possible state intervention. In West Virginia, Republicans kicked off another showdown with teachers after GOP leaders drafted legislation that would tie new pay raises to limits on unions, larger class sizes and a sweeping enactment of school choice. All this comes on the heels of walkouts and strikes by teachers in 2018.
Contributing: The Associated Press