Thursday, 17 January, 2019

United States government shutdown becomes longest in history

US President Donald Trump and others listen to a prayer during a meeting about border security in the Cabinet Room of the White House Image Mr Trump held an immigration and border security meeting in the White House on Friday
Melinda Barton | 14 January, 2019, 04:17

Democrats and the president remain at loggerheads.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., 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.

"We have a massive Humanitarian Crisis at our Southern Border", he wrote on Saturday. By more than 2-1 (66 per cent to 31 per cent), Americans say they oppose invoking an emergency to build a border wall.

The president did not tip his hand Saturday on whether he will move ahead with an emergency declaration that could break the impasse, free up money for his wall without congressional approval and kick off legal challenges and a political storm over the use of that extraordinary step.

The "wall plus" plan could include an extension of temporary protected status for about 400,000 immigrants in the United States because of disasters back home in El Salvador and elsewhere, and renewable three-year work permits for young, undocumented "Dreamers", he said.

Trump says in a Fox News Channel interview that he has "no idea" whether he can get a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "I'm just so frustrated we can't get into a room and hammer it out". Senator Dick Durbin of IL, the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber, said on ABC's "This Week" that "one phone call" from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could get the ball rolling to reopen the government.

"It's time for those centrists to speak up in their own Republican Senate caucus and tell Mitch McConnell, 'The party's over".

President Donald Trump said yesterday he would not declare a national emergency "right now" to end a standoff over border security that has idled large swaths of the US government, all but guaranteeing that he will preside over the longest shutdown in USA history.

But the Post poll also found a hardening of Republican support for a wall, with 70 percent now saying they strongly support the wall, up from 58 percent a year earlier. We want this to end, there's no excuse for the shutdown, ' " Durbin said.

First, it would allow him to claim that he was the one to act to reopen the government.

"I tried to see if we could open up the government for a limited period of time to negotiate a deal", Graham said. Graham, who said he and Trump talked by telephone on Sunday morning, said the legislative path "is just about shut off" and blamed Pelosi.

More certain is that while narcotics do enter the country across remote sections of the border, most are sneaked through heavily guarded checkpoints in vehicles, the government's own Drug Enforcement Administration said in a 2017 report. "Clearly the president's got authority under the law, but he's said he doesn't want it to come to that".

Negotiations between the White House and Democrats dramatically broke down last week, with Trump abruptly leaving a White House Situation Room meeting with top lawmakers when Democrats said they wouldn't give him money for the wall.

The shutdown became the longest on record at midnight Friday (0500 GMT Saturday), when it overtook a 21-day stretch in 1995-1996 under president Bill Clinton.

Miami International Airport closed one of its concourses for half the day last Saturday. The only option, Graham tweeted, was for Trump to "declare a national emergency NOW".

Trump is expected to sign legislation this week authorizing back pay for some 800,000 federal workers who either have been idled or are working without pay for as long as the shutdown lasts. Trump has said he'll sign it.

"It is actually a national security crisis because of the people that are coming across", he said.