The federal government is hurtling towards another potential shutdown after funding runs out this Friday, unless President Donald Trump signs onto a plan from Congressional negotiators that does not include the billions of dollars for a border wall blocking off Mexico that he’s long demanded. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says that even if Trump agrees to the plan, he expects him to forge ahead with a drastic option he’s floated for weeks at this point — declaring a national emergency over the situation at the border in an effort to use executive authority to redirect already appropriated government funds to the wall project.
USA Today‘s Eliza Collins says that “even if Trump signs the deal, [Graham] expects him to both declare a national emergency and try to find money elsewhere in order to bridge the gap between $1.375 [billion] in the Congressional deal and the $5.7 billion he’s demanded for his wall.”
Graham has expressed support for the option of the president declaring a national emergency in the past, insisting:
‘Just don’t shut down the government, use the power you have under statutory authority and commander-in-chief and go ahead and do it.’
Trump shut down the government for over a month including most of January via refusing to approve any further funding without the billions he wanted for his wall. He eventually relented, without the money, although he’s often claimed the wall has already been begun where it hasn’t anyway.
Although he hasn’t promised to use a national emergency declaration at this point, he has made plenty of indications that he’d be open to the idea. During his recent State of the Union address, he proclaimed:
‘In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall — but the proper wall never got built. I will get it built.’
To be clear, there’s no crisis at the southern border of the magnitude that the president claims. Many issues that are present would definitely not be addressed via the president’s proposed measures. For example, many of the illegal drugs that come over the border come smuggled through ports of legal entry. How exactly is a wall going to address that?
Democrats have consistently pushed for “smart” border security measures like improved technology to scan vehicles that arrive on the border, but Republicans from Trump to Graham have ignored this and cast the Democrats as the party of open borders and letting criminals roam free.
Addressing Trump’s offer to restore the protections he lifted for those protected under both Temporary Protected Status and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, Graham ranted:
‘Democrats’ hatred of President Donald Trump resulted in them missing a great opportunity to provide more border security and a better life for DACA/TPS recipients. Sad and stupid.’
Whether these partisan brick walls can give way to some kind of compromise in order to keep hundreds of thousands of government workers from again facing indefinite periods of no pay remains in question — and that’s a real crisis that actually affects Americans.
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