Senate passes bill guaranteeing back pay for workers after shutdown ends

Donald Trump. File

Donald Trump. File

Trump has started to claim that he never said during his election campaign that Mexico would directly pay for the wall: "Obviously, I never said this, and I never meant they're going to write out a check", the president told reporters at the White House on Thursday. "But if we don't make a deal, I would say it would be very surprising to me if I don't declare a national emergency and just fund it through the various mechanisms - and by the way, there's more than one mechanism".

His comments come as an impasse continues with Democrats on border security funding, including the proposed wall, amid a partial government shutdown. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump abruptly left a meeting after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would not fund the wall.

Trump said his lawyers had told him he had the power to invoke national emergency powers to get his wall funded.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, U.S. presidents have declared 58 national emergencies since 1979.

"Not only was the president unpresidential ― surprise, surprise ― yesterday in his behavior, I think the meeting was a setup so he could walk out", Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Trump floated the idea last week of declaring a national emergency about the situation at the southern US border in order to immediately move forward on construction of the wall. "I'm not prepared to do that yet, but if I have to, I will". A subsequent court fight could be protracted.

Further, a national emergency declaration would probably bring legal hurdles, as it could allow Trump the ability to use the military to build a wall instead of getting Congressional approval for its funding.

"The last thing we need to do right now is trade pointless - absolutely pointless - show votes back and forth across the aisle", McConnell said on the floor.

Democrats have offered more resources to improve border security, including new infrastructure, more personnel, and better technology, but Trump and the Republicans will not budge on wall funding.

If Trump were to make such a declaration, Manchin predicted the Senate would immediately pass legislation to fund the federal agencies that have been partially closed. Others are home on furlough. He added, "The political stunts are not going to get us anywhere".

Plagued by kidnappings, Reynosa is so risky for migrants that locals advise new arrivals against any trip alone out of the two shelters.

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