Top Republican lawmakers on Sunday warned against Donald Trump declaring a national emergency to secure funds for a border wall, signaling doubts within the president's party as a government shutdown was set to enter a fourth workweek.
Facing the prospect of the longest USA government shutdown in history, Trump has said he might declare a national emergency to bypass Congress to get funding for his wall, which was a central promise of his 2016 presidential campaign. Some Republicans are wary, too, fearing how a future Democratic president might use that authority. The White House also was eyeing military construction money, another politically hard choice because it would take away from a backlog of hundreds of projects. Trump said Friday that he planned to sign a bill guaranteeing that federal employees will be given back pay once the government reopens.
This is the longest shutdown in American history.
As a result, workers as diverse as Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, air traffic controllers and museum staff, did not receive paychecks Friday.
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Many lawmakers spent the weekend in their home states - often hearing constituents' complaints about the shutdown - but will return to Washington on Monday.
Some Trump allies have been encouraging him to declare a national emergency and redirect other funds to begin building the wall.
Mr Trump threatened anew that the shutdown could continue indefinitely as the Democrats, who now control the House, refuse to give him money for the wall.
"I'm not going to do it so fast", he said at a White House meeting. Senior aide Jared Kushner, who traveled with the president to the Texas border on Thursday, was among those opposed to the declaration, arguing to the president that pursuing a broader immigration deal was a better option.
And, Trump, who was holed up in the White House as snow blanketed Washington on Sunday, appeared to shoot down Graham's suggestion of a "wall plus" deal, saying on Twitter that even Democrats don't want to make "Dreamers" part of the negotiations.
"I actually want to see this wall get built", Johnson said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY have refused to meet that demand, instead offering a far smaller sum to shore up border security and asking the President to reopen the government now and negotiate on border security later.
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If no progress is made, he said, then Trump should declare a national emergency as a way to get money to build his wall, a plan not popular with some fellow Republicans.
"Most conservatives want it to be the last resort he would use", said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who speaks to Trump frequently.
He described an emergency declaration as an "easy way out" and said he would prefer Congress to resolve the problem.
Mr Trump, however, acknowledged that such a move would likely trigger a legal battle ending in the Supreme Court.
He again attempted to gain support for the border wall, which was a key promise of his 2016 election campaign.
Mr. Trump said Democrats "could solve the Shutdown in 15 minutes!"
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"We have a country that's under siege", he told the local officials in the White House. Trump has insisted on funding for the wall, stating that he wouldn't sign a budget bill without the funding, even if it is passed by Congress.