GOP senator says Trump declaration of national emergency wouldn't get wall built

Leroy Wright
January 14, 2019

President Donald Trump said yesterday he would not declare a national emergency "right now" to end a standoff over border security that has idled large swaths of the US government, all but guaranteeing that he will preside over the longest shutdown in USA history.

In an appearance on "Fox News Sunday", Graham maintained that Trump is not going to give up on his demand for more than $5 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

"If we can't, all bets are off", Mr. Graham said on "Fox News Sunday".

The US government shutdown became the longest on record at midnight last Friday, when it overtook a 21-day stretch in 1995-1996 under then President Bill Clinton.

Mr Trump said the Democrats "could solve the Shutdown in 15 minutes" and that he was "ready to sign" a deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a leading Democratic negotiator, insists that Trump reopen the government first. "That's why I'm depressed".

Negotiations have been stalled again because the House adjourned and several Democrats headed to Puerto Rico for a vacation with lobbyists, much to the chagrin of President Trump who is waiting to work out a deal at the White House.

More than half of Americans hold President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers mainly responsible for the ongoing longest partial federal shutdown in the USA history, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Sunday.

Support for building a wall on the border, which is the principal sticking point in the stalemate between the president and Democrats, has increased over the past year.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday that President Donald Trump should agree to reopen the government and continue trying to hammer out a deal with Democrats on funding his long-promised border wall - but that the president should declare a national emergency if no progress is made in three weeks.

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Some of Trump's fellow Republicans are warning against a disaster declaration, saying it would undercut Congress's power under the U.S. Constitution to control government spending - and make it easier for a future Democratic president to bypass Capitol Hill.

Despite these claims, however, Trump actually admitted in December that if the shutdown occurred over the border wall, it would be his fault.

Meanwhile, 800,000 federal employees will begin their 24th day Monday either furloughed or working without pay.

On Sunday evening, Houston Bush airport stopped security screening at one of its terminals, due to a shortage of staff, and directed passengers to other terminals for security checks. But the Mexican government has refused and Trump is now demanding that Congress provide funding.

"No, I would do it simultaneously, but I'd like to see them move fast", Trump replied.

President Trump has visited the US-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas amid a stand off with Congress over getting funding for his border wall. Fifty-four percent of Americans oppose the idea, down from a high of 63 percent in 2018. Even White House staffing is severely affected.

Nearly half of the State Department employees in the USA and about one-quarter overseas have been furloughed during the shutdown. "If you think of some of the things they say and do, it's just kind of unbelievable". He added that Trump should test the Democrats' willingness to compromise by the concessions he is willing to make clear to everyone.

"It's not about elitism, it's not about separatism, it's not about racism", Milstead said.

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