Top Republicans oppose emergency declaration as shutdown drags on

President Trump retaliates to the Democrats' refusal by refusing to sign off on budgets for swaths of government departments unrelated to the dispute.— AFP  File

US partial government shutdown becomes longest on record

Rep. Andy Biggs said Saturday night that President Trump is "seriously considering" declaring a national emergency over the situation at the U.S. -Mexico border.

Graham has been among the most outspoken Republicans pushing Trump to use his authority to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress and build the wall by tapping unspent money sitting in various government accounts, including for military construction and disaster relief.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to Mr Trump, said a limited re-opening of a few weeks would allow talks to resume between Republicans and Democrats.

Graham says he thinks Trump is willing to accept the level of wall funding he is seeking, along with some immigration measures Democrats might accept, such as helping immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S.as minors.

The record shutdown has furloughed 800,000 federal employees and cut government services across the U.S., caused by a lack of agreement between Republicans and Democrats over their funding. Democrats have rejected his request and say they will not negotiate further until the government is reopened. "That's why I'm depressed".

The paper reported law enforcement officials became concerned after Mr Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey in May 2017 and said the agency had to consider whether the president's actions constituted a possible threat to national security.

As the partial government shutdown slipped into the record books, members of Congress had left town, no negotiations were scheduled and President Donald Trump tweeted into the void.

Congressional Democrats are engaged in a more than three-week battle with Senate Republicans and the White House over funding for a wall along the southern border. "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".

Nonetheless, Trump insisted he had the right to declare an emergency if he chose to, and continued to insist there was a crisis at the border.

This is the longest shutdown in American history.

Many lawmakers spent the weekend in their home states - often hearing constituents' complaints about the shutdown - but will return to Washington on Monday. He has said several times since he first mentioned the idea in public earlier this month that he prefers to try to reach a deal with Congress. "I could do that very quickly", Trump said during a White House event on border security.

"This is a national emergency, if you look what's happening", Trump said Thursday, during a visit to the border in McAllen, Texas. He again sought to blame Democrats, who he said were "everywhere but Washington as people await their pay". This, as polls suggest Trump is getting most of the blame for the shutdown. We can end this easily - We need a Steel Barrier or Wall. Trump said Friday that he planned to sign a bill guaranteeing that federal employees will be given back pay once the government reopens. Johnson appeared on CNN's "State of the Union".

The standoff has turned into a test of political ego, particularly for Trump, who came into office boasting of his deal-making powers and making an aggressive border policy the keystone of his nationalist agenda. Miami International Airport on Saturday closed its least-used concourse due to a shortage of TSA officers, according to the Miami Herald.

Transportation Security Administration workers have gone without pay during the shutdown and some have responded by calling in sick. "I have the absolute right", he said. Senate Democrats, whose votes would be needed to advance such legislation, have not indicated whether they would back it because they want the government to reopen instead.

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