Related TSA employees can expect a paycheck this week as their boss gives them a bonus.transportation
including $13.9 billion given to the Army Corps of Engineers after last year’s deadly hurricanes and floods. That option appeared to lose steam following an outcry.
Other possibilities included tapping asset forfeiture funds, such as money seized from drug kingpins, according to a congressional Republican not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. The White House also was eyeing military construction money, another politically difficult choice because it would take away from a backlog of hundreds of projects.
Trump has been counseled by outside advisers to move toward declaring a national emergency for the “crisis” that he says exists at the southern border. This, as polls suggest Trump is getting most of the blame for the shutdown.
But some in the White House are trying to apply the brakes. Jared Kushner was among those opposed to the declaration, arguing to his father-in-law that pursuing a broader immigration deal was a better option. A person familiar with White House thinking said that in meetings this past week, the message was that the administration is in no rush and wants to consider various options. The person was unauthorized to discuss private sessions and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who opposes any money for an “ineffective, wasteful wall,” argues that Trump is merely trying to steer attention away from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and other White House problems. “This is a big diversion, and he’s a master of diversion,” Pelosi told reporters.
Trump has told advisers he believes the fight for the wall, even if he never gets money for it, is a political win for him.
Some of the outside advisers who want him to declare a na-
Security Administration workers who staffed checkpoints Dec. 22 will be paid, despite the federal shutdown that began the previous day, and they also will receive a $500 bonus for working during the Christmas season.
The payment for work that Saturday and the bonus money are an effort by TSA Administrator David Pekoske to soften the blow to his workers and encourage them to remain on the job after they missed their first paycheck on Friday.
The bonus and an estimated $150 to $200 in Saturday pay should be received by TSA workers early this week. tional emergency say it could have two benefits.
First, it would allow him to claim that he was the one to act to reopen the government. Second, inevitable legal challenges would send the matter to court, allowing Trump to continue the fight for the wall — and continue to excite his supporters — while not actually closing the government or immediately requiring him to start construction.
But while that might end the standoff and allow Congress to move to other priorities, some Republicans believe such a declaration would usurp congressional power and could lead future Democratic presidents to make similar moves to advance liberal priorities.
“Most conservatives want it to be the last resort he would use,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who speaks to Trump frequently. “But those same conservatives, I’m sure if it’s deployed, would embrace him as having done all he could do to negotiate with Democrats.”