Top Trump Senate Ally Urges President to Reopen Shuttered Parts of Government

Blanche Robertson
January 14, 2019

Amid the longest government shutdown in USA history, a majority say Donald Trump bears more responsibility for it than the Democrats in Congress, and the President's disapproval rating has climbed five points since last month, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South America, said Sunday that Trump told him earlier in the day that he's still considering using his emergency powers to secure funding for the wall.

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.

A senior US Republican has urged President Donald Trump to temporarily reopen parts of the government shut down for more than three weeks.

"Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we're nearly 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", said Mr Graham, a South Carolina Republican.

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.

Meanwhile, Democrats remained resolute that Trump and Republican lawmakers should end the shutdown before rejoining the debate over how to best secure United States borders and reform immigration laws. The president initially sounded as though such a move was imminent, but then pulled back.

Asked why he had not yet declared a national emergency, Mr Trump said he was giving Congress a chance to "act responsibly".

Democrats oppose an emergency declaration but may be powerless to block it.

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The public generally is more apt to blame the President, with 55% saying he is more responsible for the shutdown than are Democrats in Congress, while 32% say the blame rests mostly with the Democrats.

"The building of the Wall on the Southern Border will bring down the crime rate throughout the entire Country!" So I will take the mantle.

Graham said he thinks Trump is willing to accept the level of wall funding he is seeking, along with some immigration measures Democrats might find acceptable, such as helping immigrants who were illegally brought to the children.

"No, I would do it simultaneously, but I'd like to see them move fast", Trump replied.

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. On Saturday, day 22, members of Congress were out of Washington, Donald Trump was unmoved in the White House, his border wall unbuilt, and around 800,000 federal workers were still without pay and facing mounting hardship.

Trump has expressed interest in a broader immigration overhaul, but says he first wants the Supreme Court to address the class of immigrants known as "Dreamers".

Jennifer Lawless, a politics professor at the University of Virginia, said she believed Mr Trump and Republicans would lose the game of chicken as furloughed workers, travellers, tourists and others "experience the consequences of political dysfunction firsthand".

"How do you negotiate with the speaker of the house when she tells you even if you open up the government, we are not going to give you but $1 for the wall?"

Sen. Richard Durbin of IL, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said on NBC News' "Meet the Press" that centrist Senate Republicans who sought to broker a deal last week should step forward and make an appeal to their party's leader in the chamber, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said in a separate appearance on "Fox News Sunday".

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