World

Make no mistake -- this is a GOP shutdown

Make no mistake -- this is a GOP shutdown

"I do have a plan on the Shutdown".

President Donald Trump closed off the only live negotiation on Capitol Hill to resolve the partial federal government shutdown, now poised to become the longest in USA history, just as about 800,000 federal workers are set to miss their first paycheques.

Miami's airport will close one of its concourses most of Saturday, Sunday and Monday to make sure security checkpoints are adequately staffed as the shutdown begins to strain the aviation system.

The BBC's David Willis in Washington says that, with no further talks with the Democrats planned, this now seems the most likely option for the president. Democrats say Trump shut the government in a "temper tantrum" by refusing to sign bipartisan funding legislation previous year that did not include money for his wall.

Opponents say that a unilateral presidential move would be constitutional overreach and set a unsafe precedent in similar controversies.

Mr Trump has threatened repeatedly to declare a national emergency to break the stalemate and to order the start of construction of a wall, although last Friday, he retreated from his previously aggressive rhetoric by noting that he is not ready to take such a step now.

On Saturday, with Congress adjourned for the weekend, Trump said in the first of several tweets on the shutdown that "Democrats should come back to Washington and work to end the Shutdown".

But the idea of Mexico's paying for the new wall was the subject of a well-known, call-and-response between then-candidate Trump and his rally attendees.




The closure, which began on December 22, broke a decades-old record by a 1995-1996 shutdown under former President Bill Clinton that lasted 21 days. That ended when congressional Republicans agreed to a short-term funding bill for closed agencies that was later extended. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Trump that the blame for a government shutdown would fall on him, but the President happily accepted the responsibility and said, "I am proud to shut down the government for border security".

Speaking on a visit to a border patrol station on Thursday, Mr Trump said he never meant that Mexico would make a one-time payment for the wall. We'll do a national emergency.

A declaration would allow Trump to spend the money without congressional approval. "Think? Did I say think?" she said. "I think it's a very unsafe thing".

On the legal side, Trump clearly has the authority to declare a national emergency, but only in the case of an actual crisis.

House Democrats as well as a smattering of Republicans voted this week in favor of bills to reopen portions of the government. But the legislation has been ignored by the Republican-controlled Senate. For instance, when Nielsen tweeted that "the number of terror-watchlisted encountered at our Southern Border has increased over the last two years", Blake pointed out that "the terrorist watch list doesn't mean these are terrorists".

Diverting money to the wall could shortchange flood-control efforts in California and reconstruction programs in Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, according to Democratic Representative John Garamendi, who represents a district in California that would potentially be affected.

The newly Democratic House majority has not been idle, however, passing several packages of bills to fully reopen the U.S. government, while also passing a handful of individual appropriations bills. Those civil asset forfeiture funds, held by the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department, generate billions of dollars annually, he said.