President Trump says he 'can' and 'may' put US into state of emergency to build border wall

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Monday, January 7, 2019

United States President Donald Trump said on Friday he can and may declare a national state of emergency, which he said would allow him to act without approval from Congress and allocate funding for the construction of a wall along the country's border with Mexico. The US government is currently partially shut down because the president and Congress could not agree on a national budget. The President insists that the budget include funding for the wall, which was one of his campaign promises, but Congress has not passed his proposed budget.

File photo of Donald Trump, 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Trump said on Friday "I can do it [call a national emergency] if I want. I may do it." Trump also said that he would prefer to agree a solution with the opposition. He also said, "I never threaten anybody." He also claimed that the wall was a crucial part of America's border security. The Vice President, Mike Pence, said on Friday the United States is "in the midst of a crisis on our southern border." Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, said on Friday "We are committed to keeping our border safe. We can do that best when government is open. We made that clear to the president."

The Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, said on Friday "We made a plea to the president once again: don't hold hundreds of thousands of federal workers hostage" and "So we told the president we needed the government open. He resisted."

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin and incoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee Represenative Adam Schiff both yesterday questioned the President's power to do as he proposed. Schiff called it "a non-starter". Durbin said "I can just tell you, I don't know what he's basing this on, but he's faced so many lawsuits when he ignores the law and ignores tradition and precedent and just goes forward without any concern".

President Trump claims he would be okay if the impasse over the shutdown went on for "years." This lockdown started on December 22, last year. Some museums, the National Zoo, and immigration courts have shut, with some people working in still-open services without pay. The Internal Revenue Service website advises citizens to continue paying their federal taxes. Some services are still open, including medical services Medicare and Medicaid. Federal courts are relying on non-government sources, like court fees, for funding.


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