Gra­ham: Trump sees dec­la­ra­tion of emer­gency as last re­sort

Texarkana Gazette - - METRO / STATE - By Todd Shields, Laura Lit­van and Ben Brody

Bloomberg News

WASH­ING­TON—Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says the dec­la­ra­tion of a na­tional emer­gency to fund the con­struc­tion of a wall on the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der would be a last re­sort and still hopes to make a deal with Democrats to re­open the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., said Sun­day.

Gra­ham, who has called for Trump to in­voke emer­gency author­ity, said on “Fox News Sun­day” that he spoke with Trump ear­lier Sun­day. An­other Repub­li­can, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump is “will­ing to meet in the mid­dle” to end a par­tial U.S. gov­ern­ment shut­down.

Gra­ham and Cruz didn’t in­di­cate that Trump had any new offers to end the shut­down, and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Repub­li­can whip, crit­i­cized Democrats for what he said was not putting new pro­pos­als on the ta­ble.

Mean­while, Democrats re­mained res­o­lute that Trump and Repub­li­can law­mak­ers should end the shut­down be­fore re­turn­ing to the de­bate over how to best se­cure U.S. bor­ders and to change im­mi­gra­tion laws.

“More bor­der se­cu­rity—let’s have at it,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sun­day. “But while we’re hav­ing that de­bate, let’s re­open the gov­ern­ment.

Trump sent a series of Twit­ter posts on the shut­down Sun­day morn­ing, in­clud­ing one that re­turned to a theme of his 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign: that many im­mi­grants are crim­i­nals. Build­ing a wall, Trump said, “will bring down the crime rate through­out the en­tire Coun­try!”

About 800,000 fed­eral work­ers missed their pay for the first time Fri­day. Some rou­tine food in­spec­tions, re­lease of mar­ket-mov­ing agri­cul­ture data, and U.S. re­views needed for ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ings of stocks have been de­layed.

Democrats and the pres­i­dent re­main at log­ger­heads. Party lead­ers say they won’t agree to fund any kind of wall or bar­rier be­tween the U.S. and Mex­ico, and Trump says he won’t agree to re­open the gov­ern­ment un­til the wall is funded.

Trump said on Fox News Satur­day night that he has an “ab­so­lute right to call a na­tional emer­gency” over bor­der se­cu­rity. On Fri­day, though, he said he wasn’t rush­ing to use that op­tion—which would be chal­lenged in court and, if not over­turned, es­tab­lish a prece­dent ex­pand­ing the power of fu­ture pres­i­dents who could in­clude


Richard J. Durbin of Illi­nois, the No. 2 Se­nate Demo­crat, said on ABC’s “This Week” that “one phone call” from Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell could get the ball rolling to re­open the gov­ern­ment.

Durbin said the shut­down will end “when the Se­nate Repub­li­cans say, ‘we’ve had enough.

“We’re not go­ing to stand here and be blamed for this. We be­lieve the gov­ern­ment should be opened. Once the pres­i­dent re­al­izes he’s lost the Se­nate Repub­li­cans, we can roll up our sleeves, open the gov­ern­ment and get down to busi­ness,” Durbin said.

As the shut­down drags on, each side has blamed the other. The White House has con­tended that Democrats refuse to ne­go­ti­ate, while Democrats ac­cuse Trump of forc­ing gov­ern­ment work­ers to go un­paid as lever­age to get $5.7 bil­lion for a wall that vot­ers don’t want.

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

As­so­ci­ated Press

■ Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks Thurs­day as he tours the U.S. bor­der with Mex­ico at the Rio Grande Thurs­day in McAllen, Texas, as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, lis­tens.

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