Gra­ham pushes for deal on wall

But Trump should de­clare emer­gency if no leg­isla­tive so­lu­tion

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Front Page - By Feli­cia Son­mez and Cat Zakrzewski

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 long-promised 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,” Gra­ham main­tained that 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,” Gra­ham said.

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

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!”

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, 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,” 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. Dick Durbin of Illi­nois, the No. 2 Demo­crat in the Se­nate, said on NBC News’ “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, DW.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 re­open 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.”

Some Repub­li­cans on Sun­day called for Trump to con­tinue ne­go­ti­at­ing with Democrats rather than seek to de­clare a na­tional emer­gency.

Sen. Ron John­son, RWis., said on CNN that he

would “hate to see” Trump de­clare a na­tional emer­gency to end to his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s stale­mate with Democrats over a bor­der wall.

“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 Democrats and the White House con­tinue to ne­go­ti­ate, Sen. Christo­pher Coons, D-Del., ques­tioned on “Fox News Sun­day” why McCon­nell has not taken a more ac­tive role. While McCon­nell has been part of the process, he was not present out­side the White House last week after talks be­tween Trump and con­gres­sional lead­ers col­lapsed.

“Why is Mitch McCon­nell com­pletely ab­sent from these ne­go­ti­a­tions?” Coons asked.


Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham says the pres­i­dent is not go­ing to give up on his de­mand for more than $5 bil­lion for a bor­der wall.

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