President Donald Trump is prepared to shut down the government again or declare a national emergency if Congress won’t give him the border wall money he wants, the White House said Sunday, AP/HuffPost reports.
Trump’s standoff with Democrats on Capitol Hill is far from over and the clock is ticking – the spending bill Trump signed on Friday funds the government agencies that had been shut down only until February 15.
White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Trump’s goal is to work with Congress. “What he wants to do is fix this the way that things are supposed to get fixed with our government which is through legislation,” Mulvaney added.
Mulvaney said the President didn’t want another shutdown, but he would do it if necessary. “Keep in mind he’s willing to do whatever it takes to secure the border,” he said.
The record 35-day federal shutdown ended when Trump gave in to mounting pressure, retreating from his demand that Congress commit $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall before federal agencies could resume work. The bill he signed did not provide the money Trump wanted for a barrier, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called “immoral” and has insisted Congress will not finance.
In announcing his support for the measure reopening the federal government for three weeks, Trump said he had “a very powerful alternative, but I’m not going to use it at this time,” CNN informs.
“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15 again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency,” Trump said. “We will have great security.”
On Fox News Sunday, Mulvaney wouldn’t directly answer whether Trump would take less than $5.7 billion, but said the President was willing to negotiate. “The President has already gone to the Democrats and said, look, it’s not a 2,000-mile sea-to-shining-sea wall,” Mulvaney said.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, a member of the Democratic leadership in the House, said that a long wall would be ineffective and a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.
“That’s a 5th century solution to a 21st century problem,” Jeffries told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What we want to support over the next few weeks is 21st century border security.”
Jeffries said Democrats are willing to invest in additional infrastructure, especially at legal ports of entry where the majority of drugs come into the country. “We’re willing to invest in personnel. We’re willing to invest in additional technology. … In the past, we have supported enhanced fencing and I think that’s something that’s reasonable that should be on the table,” he said.