US House votes to reopen some agencies shut down in wall fight

Posted 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.

Facing the prospect of the longest United States government shutdown in history, Trump has said he might declare a national emergency to bypass Congress to get funding for his wall, which was a central promise of his 2016 presidential campaign. Many Republicans are wary, too.

He said on Cavuto Live that the same language about border security from President Trump was used in years prior to his presidency on both sides of the aisle.

Despite President Trump's more recent comments, he said on many occasions that Mexico would pay for the wall in full.

A growing number of Republicans are also expressing concerns over the toll of the shutdown on Americans missing their pay cheques.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the US-Mexican border presents challenges, but Mr Trump has turned his single-minded push for more walls into a crusade that opponents say is a stunt to stoke xenophobia in his right-wing voter base.

Josh Blackman, a professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, said Trump may ultimately prevail if he resorts to his emergency powers, especially if he avoids seizing property from border landowners and shifts money to build where Congress has already authorized fencing but hasn't funded it.

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Turning to Twitter on January 13 Trump again pushed for the wall and pointed to Democrats to join in on the talks.

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

Trump, holed up in the White House with Congress adjourned for the weekend, warned of a much lengthier impasse and blamed the Democrats.

Mark Morgan, who led the U.S. Border Patrol during Barack Obama's presidency, said Saturday that he's in total agreement with President Trump's proposed border wall.

Subsequent tweets today revisited various Trump talking points - Crooked Hillary, 13 angry Democrats, Witch Hunt, FBI agents and their lovers, elections have consequences, etc.

"If they can't do it.I will declare a national emergency".

"I don't know where it's going but I can tell you this", he said. "The Republican-controlled Senate and a handful of senators will make that decision".

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

Graham has been among the most outspoken Republicans pushing Trump to use his authority to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress and build the wall by tapping unspent money sitting in various government accounts, including for military construction and disaster relief.

In the Democrats' weekly address, Representative Scott Peters, who represents a district in San Diego County, California, outlined border security measures such as radar and surveillance via drones, and said "let's re-open the government and talk about these ideas".

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also has insisted that Trump end the shutdown first before any negotiating takes place. Democrats voted in the past for border security and should again, he said.

Pelosi argued that Trump is merely trying to steer attention away from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and other White House problems.

With polls showing Trump getting most of the blame for the shutdown, the administration accelerated planning for a possible emergency declaration to try to get around Congress and fund the wall from existing sources of federal revenue.

Trump has told advisers he believes the fight for the wall, even if he never gets money for it, is a political win for him.

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