Hours before US President Donald Trump's "address to the nation" on his demand for a wall along the Mexico border, White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway said that no decision has been made with regard to declaring a national emergency.
Hours before US President Donald Trump’s “address to the nation” on his demand for a wall along the Mexico border, White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway said that no decision has been made with regard to declaring a national emergency. However, he is most likely to make a strong case for the Congress to fund the construction of a steel barrier along the southern border. Trump on Sunday offered to erect a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall along the border to iron out differences with Democrats over the issue which has resulted in a partial government shutdown for over a fortnight.
The partial shutdown started on December 22 when funding for many federal agencies expired and the US president refused to sign any spending measure from the Congress that did not include USD 5 billion for his US-Mexico border wall. Democrats controlling the House have agreed to fund only USD 1.3 billion for border security.
Multiple television media outlets reported that they have received a request from the White House to disrupt their prime-time coverage Tuesday night for an Oval Office address to the nation by Trump. This is part of the US president’s two-fold purpose to inform his fellow Americans about the ongoing partial government shutdown, which is now into its 18th day, and to increase people’s pressure on the opposition Democrats. His televised address to the nation is expected to last eight minutes, a presidential aide told reporters. Soon after the president’s address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer would deliver their own addresses on behalf of the opposition Democratic party.
With the partial government shutdown going on for over a fortnight now, there is increasing panic in the two camps and both sides are trying to reach out to Americans to explain their position on the stalemate. The ongoing partial shutdown may break the previous record of 21 days under the Bill Clinton Administration. In multiple interviews, US Vice President Mike Pence adopted a tough posture on the stand of the White House on a wall funding and partial government shutdown.
“As the American people saw from the first say of this partial government shutdown, the president had me and our team on Capitol Hill negotiating and offering solutions to, not just reopen the government, but to address the crisis on our southern border,” he said. “Democrats broke off negotiations and, quite frankly, what they told this weekend, in this very office as I met with senior staff of Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, was that they would not even begin negotiations until we agree to reopen the government,” Pence told MSNBC in an interview.
“That’s not what the American people expect. If we will sit down this week, as the President has invited the leadership back here to the White House, we could resolve these issues in a matter of hours, as the President said. The American people expect us to do our work,” he said in response to a question. Pence said that there is a “real crisis” at the southern border, which sees 60,000 people a month attempting to enter the US illegally.
“With regard to terrorists, we’ve seen more than 4,000 known or suspected terrorists attempt to come into our country through various means,” he said. The opposition Democrats has blamed the White House and the Republican leadership for the current impasse. “Our responsibility is to do what we think is in the best interest of the American people and the effective and efficient operations of their government,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. He said President Trump does not have the authority to declare a national emergency.
“The president appears to believe that he can do individually that which previous presidents and the Constitution require to be done by the policymakers, the Congress of the United States,” Hoyer said. “I don’t think the president has that authority. I think it is analogous to governments that we’ve seen all over the world declaring martial law and justifying them in doing whatever they wanted to do, to whomever they wanted to do it, whenever they wanted to do it. We don’t think that’s the American way. We don’t think that’s the constitutional way,” he said.
Multiple media outlets reported that Trump is unlikely to declare a national emergency. “President Trump will make a case to a national television audience Tuesday night for long-sought border wall funding, but he is not expected to declare a national emergency that could empower him to move forward with construction without congressional consent,” The Washington Post reported.