Beginning on Saturday, when the partial government closure will have taken place on the 22nd day, it will have been closed the longest in the history of the United States of America.
About a quarter of federal government members lost funding by the end of 2018, just days before Christmas, as US Senate Democrats blocked President Donald Trump's efforts to fund the border wall project along the US border. with Mexico.
Republicans still controlled the House and took action on their part to fund the president's wall of over $ 5 billion while keeping the government open.
The Senate, which remains under the control of the GOP, has adopted a different measure that would have funded the government but provided no dollar for the wall.
The impasse resulted in the closure of about a quarter of the federal government, which brings together several key departments and agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the IRS, the Department of Transportation and well, with no less than 800,000 federal employees. assigned – closed except for essential services.
The closure lasted until Christmas, until the New Year holidays and until early in 2019 when, on January 3, the Democrats – who won the majority in the US House in the mid-term elections – took control of the House of Representatives.
The Democrats have adopted measures to reopen the government, but by depriving Trump of its wall, and now more than a week after the beginning of the new Congress, the closure has reached the longest duration in the country's history, without no end in sight.
Trump remains committed, his position being that the Democrats should provide the votes to finance the border wall and other security measures, while the Democrats engage in the same way, with strong opposition from their leaders. never fund a barrier along the border.
Trump clashed with Pelosi and Schumer earlier this week in contradictory speeches in the country, with the president using his first oval office speech as commander-in-chief to appeal directly to the American people in order to get him back. help get financing for a border fence.
In his eight-minute speech Tuesday night, broadcast by all major television networks and cable TV channels, Trump told the audience:
My fellow Americans: Tonight, I am addressing you because the humanitarian and security crisis on the southern border is becoming more and more serious. Every day, customs officers and border patrols meet with thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. We have no room to hold them back and we have no way of sending them back quickly to their country. America is proud to welcome millions of legal immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our country. But all Americans are affected by uncontrolled illegal migration. This compromises public resources and reduces jobs and wages. African Americans and Hispanics are among the hardest hit. Our southern border is a pipeline of vast quantities of illicit drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed only by heroin, of which 90% flood the southern border. More Americans will die of drugs this year than dead throughout the Vietnam War.
Trump explained to the public his specific request from Congress about what he thought was to secure the border and stop the flow of illegal immigration, thus ending the crisis. The President said:
My administration has presented to Congress a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop criminal gangs, drug traffickers and human traffickers. It's a huge problem. Our proposal was developed by law enforcement professionals and border services officers from the Department of Homeland Security. These are the resources they have requested to do their job well and keep America safe. In fact, safer than ever. Homeland Security's proposal includes state-of-the-art technology to detect drugs, weapons, illegal smuggling and many other things. We have asked more officers, immigration judges and bedplaces to deal with the sharp increase in illegal migration fueled by our very strong economy. Our plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical assistance. In addition, we have asked Congress to close the border security loopholes so that children of illegal immigrants can be sent home safely and in humane conditions.
More importantly, said the president, his proposal calls for $ 5.7 billion in this bill of appropriations for the construction of boundary walls.
"Finally, as part of a comprehensive approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $ 5.7 billion for the creation of a physical barrier," said Trump. "At the Democrats' request, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This obstacle is absolutely essential to border security. It's also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense. "
Trump ended his speech by asking the public to call Congress and ask him to fund the wall.
But in their equally televised rebuttals, Pelosi and Schumer countered that the Democrats would not support a physical barrier to secure the border. Pelosi described the wall as an "obsession" with Trump and called a wall "expensive and inefficient". Meanwhile, Schumer called the wall "inefficient" and "useless".
Since the duel's speech on Tuesday night, Senate Republicans – along with a White House negotiating team led by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner – have been trying to reach an agreement being made. a legislative amnesty for the beneficiaries of the illegal amnesty program of former President Barack Obama. Deferred action for child arrivals (DACA) and other vows of open borders for the border wall. This deal quickly collapsed in less than a day of discussions, unable to craft a serious plan and Democrats opposed any deal to fund the wall.
Democrats, on the other hand, have struggled to keep their members against the wall. As Breitbart News reported earlier this week, several well-known Democrats – including several leaders on both sides of Capitol Hill – have said they would be open to an agreement that would fund the wall or some sort of barrier or barrier along the border.
In the meantime, Politico reported that several first-year Democrats who had just been elected to their first term in the House were now wondering if Pelosi and Schumer had the right strategy to oppose any barrier along the border. The member quotes Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), who says her constituents in Virginia are facing enormous resistance against the Democratic opposition to the wall.
"If I receive comments and contacts from my constituents who fear that Democrats do not prioritize security, then I think we can do better," said Spanberger.
Representative Colin Allred (D-TX), co-chair of the freshman class in the House, also said the Democrats were not doing their service by applying the Pelosi-Schumer strategy.
"I do not think it's the Democrats' fault in the House if we're stuck," said Allred, a Politico member. "But I think that prevents us from forming coalitions that we are trying to create."
Representative Bill Foster (D-IL), a senior Illinois Democrat who has been sitting in Congress for more than a decade, also said at a private meeting that Democrats should consider an agreement that finance the wall in exchange for their priorities.
"I think it's something that should be in the discussion here, because things are moving so slowly," Foster said, according to the Politico report. "I think it's a motive on which most Democrats should feel comfortable."
Allred also said that he would be open to financing the wall under a larger deal. "I'm not going to exclude anything, I really am not," Allred said.
Obviously, Trump could declare a national emergency and use executive power to build the wall along the border without congressional approval. Trump insists that he has the power, as chief of the executive and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, to declare such a national emergency and to divert federal resources for the construction of the wall. Some jurists agree with him and others oppose it, but if Trump chooses this path, he will undoubtedly face a major legal challenge, like his early travel ban. of his presidency.
While Trump praises the possibility of a national emergency declaration for several days – some think he could do it in his oval office speech last Tuesday, a decision that did not materialize in the end – Friday, the president announced does not want to take this extraordinary step.
All of this leaves the situation pretty much in the same place now, with this being the longest record stop in the history of the federal government at 22 days deep, as it was when it started.