GOP senator offers solution to end shutdown before Trump declares national emergency to build wall

Visitors read an "Area Closed" sign due to a government shutdown at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park Visitor Center on Saturday, December 22, 2018. | Photo by Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via The Associated Press, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — Congress returns to Washington for its first full week of legislative business since control of the House reverted to Democrats, but lawmakers will be confronted with the same lingering question: When will the partial government shutdown end?

One Republican senator says he’s offered President Donald Trump a possible solution, though it may just be wishful thinking.

Sen. Lindsey Graham is encouraging Trump to reopen government for several weeks to continue negotiating with Democrats over the border wall Trump wants to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. If there’s no deal at the end of that time, Graham says Trump would be free to take the more dramatic step of declaring a national emergency to build it.

But the South Carolina Republican says Trump still wants a deal on funding for the wall before agreeing to reopen shuttered government departments. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, insists Trump reopen the government first.

Their weeks-old standoff led to the partial government shutdown, now on day 24 without a clear end in sight.

Trump insisted on Twitter Monday that he wanted to deal, declaring: “I’ve been waiting all weekend. Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!”

Targeting Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump also argued that the shutdown “has become their, and the Democrats, fault!” Trump weeks ago asserted that he would “own” the shutdown and polls show that he is taking most of the blame.

Graham, who has publicly pushed Trump to use his authority to declare a national emergency to build the wall, is suggesting a short-term fix first.

“Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we’re almost there, I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal,” Graham said. “If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off.”

In this Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, file photo seen from a window outside the Oval Office, President Donald Trump gives a prime-time address about border security at the White House in Washington. With the standoff over paying for his long-promised border wall dragging on, the president’s Oval Office address and visit to the Texas border over the past week failed to break the logjam and left aides and allies fearful that the president has misjudged Democratic resolve and is running out of negotiating options. | Associated Press photo by Carolyn Kaster, St. George News

Declaring a national emergency would allow Trump to bypass Congress and tap various pots of unspent federal money, including for military construction and disaster relief, as well as from assets seized by law enforcement, to pay for the wall.

Trump has kept Washington on edge over whether he would resort to such a declaration, citing what he says is a “crisis” of drug smuggling and the trafficking of women and children at the border. The president initially sounded as though such a move was imminent but then pulled back. He has said several times since he first mentioned the idea in public this month that he prefers a legislative solution.

A key question is how much more time is Trump willing to give lawmakers. Graham, who spoke with Trump by telephone on Sunday morning, said the legislative path “is just about shut off” and blamed intransigence by Pelosi.

The speaker’s office had no immediate comment.

Democrats oppose an emergency declaration but may be powerless to block it. Some Republicans are wary too, fearing how a future Democratic president might use that authority. Such a move, should Trump ultimately go that route, would almost certainly be challenged in the courts.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., called Graham’s idea to reopen the government a “great place to start.”

“I do think if we reopen the government, if the president ends this shutdown crisis, we have folks who can negotiate a responsible, modern investment in technology that will actually make us safer,” Coons said.

Trump says technology is nice, but that the border can’t be secured without a wall.

The White House has been laying the groundwork for an emergency declaration, which is feared by lawmakers in both parties.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said he’d “hate to see” a declaration issued because the wall wouldn’t get built, presumably because of legal challenges. Democrats voted in the past for border security and should again, Johnson said.

“I actually want to see this wall get built,” Johnson said. “I want to keep pressure on Democrats to actually come to the negotiating table in good faith and fund what they have supported in the past.”

Graham favors a declaration and said the time for talk is running out.

“It’s the last option, not the first option, but we’re pretty close to that being the only option,” he said.

Graham and Coons spoke on “Fox News Sunday” and Johnson appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Written by DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press. (add in any contributors that are in the AP story as stated on the story, name, affiliation, from where they contributed)

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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  • Pheo January 14, 2019 at 9:45 am

    If your kidnapped child is hurt, it’s your fault for not paying the ransom. The kidnapper is blameless.

    • Brian January 14, 2019 at 11:19 am

      Poor analogy. More like parents that live in a rough neighborhood and have been saying for years that they should build a fence around their yard so their kids can play more safely, but never actually do it, but when their wacky orange haired neighbor suggests it they say fences are immoral and go lock their kids in their rooms with no dinner for a month and rant about how unreasonable the neighbor is.

  • Comment January 14, 2019 at 11:59 am

    First we build a fence. Then DEPORT DEPORT DEPORT! Illegals have got to go!

    • sheepobserver January 14, 2019 at 5:53 pm

      Why don’t we figure out how to get a new identification system in place for all americans, and visitors. S.S. numbers are being stolen, and that whole system seems to be a big mess which allows illegals to appear as citizens when they buy them.

      Then why don’t we punish the employers of illegal immigrants? This would create revenue for the government, and would surely make anyone think twice about hiring one. Again, make it so there is an easy way to identify people who are here legally. It’s 2019, we have the technology to do this pretty easily. Say $500 fine for each illegal a person or company hires?
      Of course we’d have to up the immigration program so that there were people out in the field conducting investigations on a regular basis. Maybe we could have something like an illegal immigration “tip-line” where people call in and report employers of illegals. Yeah, it’d end up seeming racist sometimes, but it has the potential to be effective.

      Then, if an illegal shows up at the doctor, we treat them the minimum amount to get them on the road, and deport them back to their home country. We don’t feed illegals, shelter them, or provide sanctuary cities for them, and if they ask for any of those, they get deported.

      I’m pretty sure a large portion of them would leave on their own. A wall would only prevent them from leaving.

      Do you know why this will never happen? Because it’s bad for business. We’d all pay more for construction, hospitality, and produce.

      The wall appeases people (the general public) into believing the government is trying to fix the problem. This is the reason both sides have said they want a wall at one time or another. The wall is smoke and mirrors.

      My way solves the problem of those who are here, and those who want to come.

      If the wall were 100% effective at stopping illegals at the border, it would still only be 50% effective overall due to the illegals here on visas. The wall would prevent 12 million illegals already here from leaving. It’s a no brainer.

    • Red2Blue310 January 14, 2019 at 8:51 pm

      It should be illegal to shut down the government for anything. Govt workers have nothing to do with congress. That being said, Graham presented the solution, Trump as usual turned it dow. This is the Trump shutdown because we cant trust him or his words. Shut down Trump. Hes a Russian mole.

  • utahdiablo January 14, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    ‘Why don’t we figure out how to get a new identification system in place for all americans, and visitors. S.S. numbers are being stolen, and that whole system seems to be a big mess which allows illegals to appear as citizens when they buy them’…… this how we all agree to take the sign of the Beast?

  • cindybanks91 January 17, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Lindsey Graham, plays both sides of the fence. He knows full well that if the President gives them three weeks, he will get nothing. The Democrats have not brought a counter proposal and not working in good faith. The GOP is a disgrace, they are weak kneed and never stand by their own party of President. Yet the corrupt democrats that have been falsely accusing this President and trying to set him since July 2016, with false reports and documents have the full support of their people. The President must stand firm and show what real comittment to this nation is all about. And the President is right to slow down all immigration until we get this issue addressed.

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