Se­na­tor urges Trump to give talks a chance

But Gra­ham says pro­posal to end shut­down re­jected


WASH­ING­TON — Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham said Sun­day that he en­cour­aged Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to re­open the gov­ern­ment for a short pe­riod to try to ne­go­ti­ate a deal with Democrats that would break the im­passe over Trump’s de­mands for a wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

But the South Carolina Repub­li­can said Trump wants a deal first.

Dis­agree­ment over fund­ing for a bor­der wall has caused the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down that’s now in its fourth week. Demo­cratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has in­sisted that Trump end the shut­down be­fore any ne­go­ti­at­ing takes place.

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 bor­der wall.

“I tried to see if we could open up the gov­ern­ment for a lim­ited pe­riod of time to ne­go­ti­ate a deal,” Gra­ham said of his tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with Trump. “The pres­i­dent says, ‘Let’s make a deal, then open up the gov­ern­ment.’ Nancy Pelosi says even if you opened up the gov­ern­ment, I wouldn’t fund a wall.”

“What is he sup­posed to do? Just give in? He’s not go­ing to give in,” Gra­ham said.

Gra­ham said Sun­day that re­open­ing the gov­ern­ment and at­tempt­ing to find a leg­isla­tive so­lu­tion, then declar

● ing a na­tional emer­gency if those talks don’t bear fruit, is the best way for­ward.

“I would urge him to open up the gov­ern­ment for a short pe­riod of time, like three weeks, be­fore he pulls the plug. See if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off. See if he can do it by him­self through the emer­gency pow­ers,” Gra­ham said.

Wait­ing three weeks would take the ne­go­ti­a­tions past Trump’s State of the Union ad­dress later this month.

The as­sess­ment from Gra­ham, who has be­come close to Trump, sug­gested the sides aren’t close to re­solv­ing a shut­down af­fect­ing 800,000 fed­eral work­ers who have been idled or re­quired to work with­out pay for the du­ra­tion.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., called Gra­ham’s idea for a brief re­open­ing of the gov­ern­ment a “great place to start.”

“Stop harm­ing our coun­try and our econ­omy and let’s make our best ef­forts be­cause we all agree we need to in­vest more in bor­der se­cu­rity,” Coons said on Fox News Sun­day.

Gra­ham said he thinks that in ad­di­tion to the level of wall fund­ing Trump is seek­ing, the pres­i­dent is will­ing to ac­cept some im­mi­gra­tion mea­sures Democrats sup­port, such as help­ing im­mi­grants who were il­le­gally brought to the U.S. as chil­dren.

But Trump has said that while he is in­ter­ested in pur­su­ing a broader over­haul of the im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, he first wants to hear what the Supreme Court has to say about the group of im­mi­grants known as “Dream­ers.”

Pelosi has shown no in­ter­est in ac­cept­ing a wall — she has called it an “im­moral­ity” — in ex­change for other im­mi­gra­tion mea­sures.

Trump con­tin­ued mak­ing his case for the wall in Sun­day morn­ing tweets, ar­gu­ing that it “will bring down the crime rate through­out the en­tire Coun­try!” He again sought to blame Democrats, who he said were “ev­ery­where but Wash­ing­ton as peo­ple await their pay.”

“I’m in the White House, wait­ing,” Trump said, ac­cus­ing Democrats of “hav­ing fun and not even talk­ing!”

And Trump ap­peared to shoot down Gra­ham’s sug­ges­tion, say­ing in an­other Twit­ter post that Democrats don’t want to make “Dream­ers” part of the shut­down talks.


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.

Democrats op­pose such a dec­la­ra­tion but may be pow­er­less to stop it. Many Repub­li­cans are wary, too, fear­ing its use by a fu­ture Demo­cratic pres­i­dent.

“We don’t want it to come down to a na­tional emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion,” House Repub­li­can Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said on ABC’s This Week. “Clearly the pres­i­dent’s got au­thor­ity un­der the law, but he’s said he doesn’t want it to come to that. He wants Con­gress to solve this prob­lem. Con­gress needs to solve this prob­lem.”

Trump has said he prefers giv­ing Con­gress more time to work out a deal be­fore pulling the trig­ger on such a dec­la­ra­tion.

But Gra­ham said Sun­day that time is run­ning out.

“It’s the last op­tion, not the first op­tion, but we’re pretty close to that be­ing the only op­tion,” Gra­ham said of an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion.

Sen. Ron John­son, R-Wis., said on CNN that he would “hate to see” Trump de­clare a na­tional emer­gency to end the stale­mate.

“If we do that, it will go to court and the wall won’t get built,” John­son said on State of the Union. “I want to see this wall get built, so I want to keep pres­sure on Democrats to ac­tu­ally come to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble in good faith and fund what they’ve sup­ported in the past.”

John­son also ac­cused Democrats of min­i­miz­ing what he called a “cri­sis” at a bor­der.

“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. “As a can­di­date, this is what he talked about, and if there’s any man­date he can claim from his elec­tion, it was bet­ter bor­der se­cu­rity and keep­ing this na­tion safe.”

As pres­sure to end the shut­down con­tin­ues to mount, some Democrats have be­gun urg­ing Se­nate Repub­li­cans to take up House-passed leg­is­la­tion to re­open the gov­ern­ment, re­gard­less of whether the pres­i­dent agrees.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illi­nois, the No. 2 Demo­crat in the Se­nate, said on Meet the Press that cen­trist Se­nate Repub­li­cans who sought to bro­ker a deal last week should step for­ward and make an ap­peal to their party’s leader in the cham­ber, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell of Ken­tucky.

“It’s time for those cen­trists to speak up in their own Repub­li­can Se­nate cau­cus and tell Mitch McCon­nell, ‘The party’s over. We want this to end; there’s no ex­cuse for the shut­down,’” Durbin said. “The Repub­li­can-con­trolled Se­nate and a hand­ful of se­na­tors will make that de­ci­sion.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said in a state­ment Sun­day that given Trump’s sug­ges­tion late last week that he does not im­me­di­ately plan to is­sue an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion, “it’s time for Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell to bring up the House passed ap­pro­pri­a­tions bills that would fi­nally re­open gov­ern­ment.”

“As an equal branch of gov­ern­ment we have the au­thor­ity to over­ride the Pres­i­dent’s veto, if that’s what he chooses to do,” Manchin said.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., also called for the pres­i­dent to rein open the gov­ern­ment be­fore de­bat­ing the is­sue of bor­der se­cu­rity.

“What we don’t want to do is waste tax­payer money on a van­ity project that’s in­ef­fec­tive, that the pres­i­dent said Mex­ico would pay for,” Kaine said on Meet the Press.


The shut­down on Satur­day be­came the long­est U.S. gov­ern­ment clo­sure of the mod­ern era, ex­ceed­ing the 1995-96 fund­ing lapse, when Demo­crat Bill Clin­ton was pres­i­dent and Newt Gin­grich was speaker of the House.

About 800,000 fed­eral work­ers missed their pay­checks for the first time Fri­day, as the ef­fects from the stop­page that be­gan Dec. 22 spread. Func­tions not be­ing car­ried out in­clude some rou­tine food in­spec­tions, timely re­lease of mar­ket-mov­ing agri­cul­ture data, and U.S. re­views needed for ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ings of stocks.

As the shut­down has con­tin­ued, both the House and Se­nate have ap­proved leg­is­la­tion that would pro­vide back pay to fed­eral work­ers once the shut­down ends. Trump has said he’ll sign it.

Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion work­ers have gone with­out pay dur­ing the shut­down, and some have re­sponded by call­ing in sick. Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Satur­day closed its leas­t­used con­course be­cause of a short­age of TSA of­fi­cers, ac­cord­ing to the Mi­ami Her­ald. The pro­por­tion of TSA work­ers on un­sched­uled leave on Satur­day was 5.6 per­cent, com­pared with 3.3 per­cent on Satur­day, Jan. 13, 2018, TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said in a tweet.

Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Air­port spokesman Greg Chin told news out­lets Sun­day that the con­course will re­sume op­er­a­tions to­day after clos­ing for parts of Satur­day and Sun­day.

Great Smoky Moun­tains Na­tional Park in Ten­nessee also is re­open­ing some ar­eas that have been closed dur­ing the shut­down. The park said in a news re­lease that some ba­sic vis­i­tor ser­vices will re­sume us­ing rev­enue gen­er­ated by recre­ation fees.

Most of the park’s fa­cil­i­ties will re­main closed, in­clud­ing the Su­gar­lands and Oconaluftee vis­i­tor cen­ters.


An au­di­ence at a VFW post in Wheaton, Ill., lis­tens Sun­day to Demo­cratic Rep. Sean Cas­ten dis­cuss im­pli­ca­tions of the shut­down for gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees. Cas­ten also ad­dressed Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ef­forts to build a bor­der wall.

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