Trump indicates he won’t declare national emergency over border wall ‘so fast’

Nellie Chapman
January 13, 2019

President Donald Trump tamped down expectations that he is close to declaring a national emergency to get the money he desires to build his long-promised U.S. -Mexico border wall as a three-week impasse closing parts of the government continued on Friday.

At least 25 percent of the USA federal government closed its doors in late December after Trump refused to sign the Senate's seven-week stopgap bill unless some $5.6 billion to fund his border wall was attached. An estimated 800,000 federal workers are now going without paychecks.

The remarks came only hours before a partial USA government shutdown became the longest in the country's history, with departments having been closed for 22 days over a failure to agree funding for Trump's wall.

Asked why he had yet to declare a national emergency, he said he was giving Congress a chance to "act responsibly".

Some US media reports suggest the White House is considering diverting some of the $13.9bn allocated past year by Congress for disaster relief in such areas as Puerto Rico, Texas and California to pay for the wall.

An emergency declaration could activate special powers under which the president can redirect federal money without additional authorization from Congress.

"If they can't do it". "The Democrats are forcing him into a choice of doing the national emergency because they won't sit down and discuss it". This, as polls suggest Trump is getting most of the blame for the shutdown. However, two-thirds of Republicans would support the President's decision to use those powers.

Before lawmakers left Washington on Friday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., attempted to make a similar point as Trump did Saturday about the 2016 election in a floor exchange with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Whatever you want to call it, it's OK with me.

Experts have said even though the president may have the authority to invoke powers under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, using it will nearly certainly bring on a court battle. Because the funding has yet to be officially applied to these projects, the president has the authority to redirect it toward the construction of a border wall.

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City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) has indicated that he will be the lead sponsor on the on the bill. Some Americans want to see the health initiative replicated nationwide.


He asserted that a border wall is needed because "23% of Federal inmates are illegal immigrants".

But Trump has turned his single-minded push for more walls into a political crusade seen by opponents as a stunt to stoke xenophobia in his right-wing voter base, while willfully ignoring the border's complex realities.

"I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency", Trump told reporters as he was preparing to leave the White House for McAllen, Texas. The White House has not indicated if Trump would sign it.

More certain is that while narcotics do enter the country across remote sections of the border, most are sneaked through heavily guarded checkpoints in vehicles, the government's own Drug Enforcement Administration said in a 2017 report.

He said: "We're doing our best to make sure it doesn't impact our diplomacy".

Trump also said he has "no idea" whether he can get a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who opposes spending money on an "ineffective, wasteful wall".

Now, as the American people enjoy their (at the time of writing) 22nd day of partial government shutdown, here's everything we need to know about it from this side of the pond.

The BBC's David Willis in Washington says that, with no further talks with the Democrats planned, this now seems the most likely option for the president. He said lawmakers can also take that step, even though there's no indication they would.

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