President urged to reopen government,
WASHINGTON — 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 longpromised border wall — but that the president should declare a national emergency if no progress is made in three weeks.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Graham maintained that Mr. 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.
But he argued that reopening the government and attempting to find a legislative solution, then declaring 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,” Mr. Graham said.
Waiting three weeks would take the negotiations past Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address later this month.
Mr. 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,” Mr. Trump said, accusing Democrats of “having fun and not even talking!”
Mr. Trump also suggested that he is open to including protections for “dreamers,” who were brought to the country illegally as children, as part of a deal. But last week, Mr. Trump shot down a deal floated by Senate Republicans that would have included those protections, and he has repeatedly said that he plans to wait until the Supreme Court rules on the matter before seeking to negotiate with Democrats on it.
“Democrats are saying that DACA is not worth it and don’t want to include in talks,” Mr. Trump said Sunday. “Many Hispanics will be coming over to the Republican side, watch!”
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. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., said in a statement Sunday that given Mr. 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,” Mr. Manchin said.
Sen. Ron Johnson, RWis., said on CNN that he would “hate to see” Mr. Trump declare a national emergency to end to his administration’s stalemate with Democrats over a border wall.