Top Republicans oppose border 'emergency' as shutdown drags on

Saul Bowman
January 14, 2019

President Donald Trump said he was holding off on declaring a state of emergency to end the partial USA government shutdown that dragged into a 23rd day on Sunday (Jan 13), as he insisted on US$5.7 billion (S$7.7 billion) to build a Mexico border wall that congressional Democrats oppose.

President Donald Trump has said he has "no idea" if he will be able to strike a deal with the Democrats for his border wall and end the longest USA government shutdown in history. Many Republicans are wary, too. The White House also was eyeing military construction money, another politically hard choice because it would take away from a backlog of hundreds of projects.

First, Trump said no to scaling back the $5.7 billion he wants for construction of a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, kneecapping Pence's early effort to test Democrats' appetite for a smaller number. Milstead said a barrier of steel slats that border agents can see through and animals and waters can pass through - much like what exists at the border now - could work.

"The easiest solution to the shutdown is to just give President Trump the money for the mandate he received from the American public", he said.

One close Trump ally, Republican Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, said Friday that he believed Trump was getting closer to declaring an emergency.

He says Democrats don't support a wall costing billions of dollars that will, in his words, "destroy sensitive lands, take private property, and can be tunneled under, climbed over or cut through".

Some Trump allies have been encouraging him to declare a national emergency and redirect other funds to begin building the wall.

As the partial government shutdown reached a record 22nd day on Saturday, President Trump blamed Democrats and called on them to end it by agreeing to his demand to fund a border wall.

As the shutdown drags on, President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats have not made progress toward any kind of agreement that would put an end to it.


A Republican senator warned on Sunday that if President Donald Trump declares a national emergency on the southern border in order to fund the construction of a border wall, the move is "going to go to court and the wall won't get built".

Trump walked out of a White House meeting last week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, when they refused to approve a border wall, even if he reopened the government and negotiated over border security for the next 30 days. Declaring a national emergency over it with little information to suggest the security situation has dramatically changed could prove hard to defend in court.

"I don't know where it's going but I can tell you this", he said.

Mr Trump, however, acknowledged that such a move would likely trigger a legal battle ending in the Supreme Court.

The House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill on Friday to ensure all government workers receive retroactive pay after the shutdown ends.

Almost half of all Americans (47 per cent) say there is a serious problem at the border but decline to call it a crisis. Forty-eight percent of independents blame Trump, compared to 34 percent who blame congressional Democrats and 14 percent who blame both sides. The White House also was eyeing military construction funds, another politically hard choice because the money would be diverted from a backlog of hundreds of projects at bases around the nation.

Since coming to the White House, he has failed to get Mexico to pay for the wall and has struggled to advance his immigration policies in Congress, even when Republicans were in full control of both chambers.

A close Trump confidant judged the time for such a step had come.

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