The partial shutdown of the government has become the longest closure in US history, when the clock struck around Saturday morning as President Donald Trump and nervous Republicans struggled to find a way out disorder.
A solution could not happen soon enough for federal workers who received payroll declarations on Friday but no salary.
The House and Senate voted in favor of retaining federal employees each time the federal government reopened and then left the city for the weekend. And while Trump privately considered a dramatic escape route – declaring a national emergency to build the wall without a fresh influx of congressional money – members of his own party were fiercely debating this idea, and the President urged Congress to propose another solution.
"What we are not trying to do for the moment, it's a national emergency," Trump said. He insisted that he had the necessary authority to do so, adding that he "was not going to do it so fast" because he always preferred to reach an agreement with the Congress.
About 800,000 workers lost their wages Friday, many receiving blank pay slips. Some have posted photos of their empty earnings statements on social media, calling with all their might to end the market shutdown. A shocking image that, in the opinion of many White House MPs, was afraid to turn more voters against the president while he claimed billions of dollars in additional funding.
While polls showed that Trump was primarily responsible for shutting down the system, the administration had stepped up planning for a possible emergency declaration to bypass Congress and fund the wall from existing federal revenue sources. The White House has considered diverting money from various accounts for the construction of walls. One of the ideas envisioned was to divert some of the $ 13.9 billion allocated to the Army Engineering Corps after the hurricanes and deadly floods of last year.
This option provoked a public outcry among officials in Puerto Rico and some states that were recovering from a natural disaster, and seemed to be losing speed on Friday.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has called the idea "abuse" of resorting to disaster relief "to pay for an immoral wall that America does not need or want".
After talks with the White House, Texas Republican Representative Kevin Brady of Texas told reporters, "I am confident that disaster relief funds will not be used." Brady said the administration was reviewing the extent of unspent funds in other government accounts.
Other possibilities include the use of asset forfeiture funds, including money seized by the Department of Justice from criminal drug companies, according to a Republican of the United States. Congress not authorized to speak in public of private conversations. The White House was also considering funding for military construction, another politically difficult choice because the money would be diverted from the backlog of hundreds of projects in bases located across the country.
Despite Trump's slowness message, the pulse for some sort of emergency statement has developed in some corners. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who met with the President on Friday, then asked Twitter: "Mr. Chair, Report a National Emergency NOW.Build a Wall NOW."
External advisers have advised Trump to move to a national emergency declaration, but many at the White House are trying to curb the brakes. Senior advisor Jared Kushner, who visited the border with the US president on Thursday, objected to the statement, saying the search for a broader immigration deal was a better option. . A person familiar with White House thinking said that at this week's meetings, the message was that the administration was in no hurry and wanted to consider various options. The person was not allowed to discuss private sessions and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Speaker of the Democratic House, Nancy Pelosi, who expressed her moral opposition to the wall and opposed any funding, said the president was seeking to distract from the investigation of special advocate Robert Mueller and other problems of the White House.
"It's not a wall between Mexico and the US It's a wall between his failures in his administration," Pelosi told reporters. "It's a big diversion and he's a master of diversion."
Pelosi sent a letter to his colleagues last Friday night, thanking House Democrats for passing bills to reopen ministries and closed agencies. Mr Pelosi said there was "no excuse for President Trump to keep the government abandoned due to his demand for an ineffective and useless wall." She stated that he "endangered the health and safety of the American people and stole the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers" during the closure.
Although Trump was frustrated by his aides while he lost the public relations battle following the closure, the White House's attempts to use the attributes of the presidency to shore up his case against the wall have given mixed results in the eyes of the President.
Trump has long avoided using the oval office as a backdrop for his speeches, explaining to his aides that previous presidents looked stabilized and "flat" under the standard angle of the camera. But he was convinced that the seriousness of the moment justified the Oval Office giving its speech to the country this week about the Battle of the Border Wall.
But since Tuesday night's speech, Trump is complaining of looking bored and lifeless, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not allowed to speak in public. private conversations. The president also expressed doubts about his visit to the border, saying it would not change anyone's mind.
In a Friday morning tweet, Trump called illegal immigration to the southern border "invasion", although the number of border crossings has declined in recent years. Later, he tried to blame the Democrats for this closure, claiming that he was flexible as to the necessary barrier.
"I do not care what they name," Trump said. "They can call it" peaches. "
Trump told councilors that he was convinced that the fight for the wall – even though he never reported the funding requested – was a political victory.
But some of his outside advisers urged him to declare a national emergency, saying it would have two advantages: first, it would allow him to claim that he was the one who acted to reopen the government. Second, inevitable court challenges would take the case to court, allowing Trump to continue to fight for the wall – and continue to excite his supporters – without shutting down the government or immediately forcing him to begin construction. .
Such an approach could put Republicans in a stalemate. While this may put an end to the stalemate on funding and allow Congress to move on to other priorities, some Republicans believe that such a statement would destroy the power of Congress and could bring future presidents Democrats to take similar steps to advance liberal priorities.
Representative Mark Meadows, CR-NC, leader of the Liberal House Freedom Caucus group who frequently speaks to Trump, said that unless Republicans and Democrats reach an unlikely compromise, "I am fully expecting to what he declares a national emergency ".
"Most conservatives want this to be the last resort that he would use," Meadows said. "But these same conservatives, I'm sure it's deployed, would consider it as having done everything to negotiate with the Democrats."
In growing discomfort, five GOP Senators supported a bill by Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin to restore the pay check of some 420,000 federal employees who are now working without pay during the closure.
Meanwhile, many Democrats say they have no reason to give in to Trump's request for funding at the border since the House's takeover in the mid-term elections.
"The American people gave us the majority based on our comprehensive approach to the problem and rejected President Trump," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
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