* Amber Phillips reports on huge gerrymandering news out of Pennsylvania:
In a decision that could tilt the congressional balance of power in a key swing state in favor of Democrats, Pennsylvania’s highest court decided Monday that the state’s GOP-drawn congressional districts violate its Constitution, and ordered all 18 districts redrawn in the next few weeks.
Less partisan congressional districts could give Democrats a chance this November to win back as many as half a dozen seats that had been lost to them over the past decade. It could also give the party a major boost in its quest to take back the House of Representatives, where Democrats need to net 24 seats to win control of the chamber.
The importance of this decision is hard to overstate. In this swing state that often leans Democratic, Republican gerrymandering has produced a congressional delegation with a 13-5 Republican advantage. Draw those districts fairly, and Democrats will be a whole lot closer to taking back the House.
* Robert Costa, Erica Werner, Ed O’Keefe, and Elise Viebeck report that the shutdown is coming to an end:
The Senate voted Monday to end the government shutdown, approving a short-term spending bill after frantic negotiations broke a budget impasse with a pledge from leaders to act on immigration policy next month.
The House was expected to quickly pass the measure, which would fund the government through Feb. 8, reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program and roll back several health-care taxes.
But don’t worry, shutdown fans: we could be doing it all over again come February 8th.
* Elise Foley, Arthur Delaney, Igor Bobic, and Matt Fuller report that the agreement to reopen the government may not be a complete cave on Democrats’ part, especially if Mitch McConnell makes good on his vow to hold a vote on the dreamers:
If McConnell keeps his word, he’ll put Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in a tough spot. There is a DACA bill currently working its way through the House that would deliver on a number of conservative immigration priorities, but it has no chance in the Senate.
If senators are able to pass their own bill, while simultaneously demonstrating that the House bill doesn’t have the votes to pass in their chamber, Ryan will be left with the choice of either putting the Senate bill up for a vote and angering conservatives or holding strong. If he holds strong and doesn’t put the Senate-passed measure up for a vote, he could risk another shutdown and strengthen the Democrats’ argument that another government closure is the fault of Republican obstructionism. …
For now, Democrats were happy to end a government shutdown, fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years, and functionally not give up any of their leverage.
We don’t know if McConnell will hold that vote, of course. But it may not be all that easy for Republicans to do nothing to protect the dreamers, so it’s too early to gauge the significance of today’s events. We’ll have to wait and see. — gs
* Jonathan Bernstein points out that while Democrats didn’t get much from this outcome, Republicans got nothing, so it’s kind of silly to claim they “won.”
* Spencer Hsu and John Wagner report that President Trump’s vote suppression commission asked the state of Texas to give it a voter file with all the Hispanic surnames flagged. For some reason.
* And Jenna McLaughlin reports that Trump has appointed Stephen Feinberg, a billionaire financier with zero government experience, to head his Intelligence Advisory Board, because nothing matters.