Milstead, after White House event, says wall needed for border 'crisis'

President Donald Trump said he was holding off on declaring a state of emergency to end the partial U.S. government shutdown that dragged into a 23rd day on Sunday (Jan 13), as he insisted on US$5.7 billion (S$7.7 billion) to build a Mexico border wall that congressional Democrats oppose.

Trump continued to call out Democrats for punting on negotiations to end the shutdown, perhaps referring to the roughly 30 Democratic lawmakers reportedly attending a retreat with lobbyists in Puerto Rico, according to the Washington Examiner.

Trump on Friday backed off a series of previous threats to end the deadlock by declaring a national emergency and attempting to secure the funds without congressional approval.

"Sarah St. Vincent, a surveillance researcher at Human Rights Watch, wrote on Twitter that "'more surveillance' has become the default answer to far too many hard policy questions".

As Democrats and the White House continue to negotiate, Sen.

However, the Democratic leader of the US House of Representatives said the ball was in Mr Trump's court. Trump said Sunday on Twitter.

This is the longest shutdown in American history. Senator Tim Kaine called the wall, which could cost an estimated US$23 billion, a "vanity project" that Trump promised Mexico - not USA taxpayers - would pay for. No new talks are scheduled, and about 800,000 federal employees went without paychecks Friday.

Lawmakers are due back in Washington from their states and congressional districts in the new week.

Trump further argued for the efficiency of the wall that he wants to build on the southern USA border, stating that it would reduce the crime rate in the country and halt the influx of illegal narcotics.

President Donald Trump is refusing to approve a federal budget unless it includes funding for a border wall.


Democrats and the president remain at loggerheads, with party leaders saying they won't agree to fund any kind of wall or barrier and Trump insisting he won't agree to reopen the government until the wall is funded.

He and his proxies had several sit-downs with Democratic congressional leaders, but "not much headway" has been made, as Trump tweeted after Vice President Mike Pence met with Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on January 5. The US Constitution gives Congress, and not the president, the power to appropriate money, and Trump must find a legal way to tap the money he wants for a wall.

Increasingly, many around Trump think that the only way out of the shutdown impasse is for the president to declare a national emergency to try and pay for the wall by diverting federal funds from other programs. If this doesn't work out, probably I will do it.

He described an emergency declaration as an "easy way out" and said he would prefer Congress to resolve the problem. He said he's giving Congress a chance to "act responsibly". "The Republican-controlled Senate and a handful of senators will make that decision".

"Something that supposedly becomes a "national emergency" only when Congress fails to give the president what he demands, but hasn't been an emergency until that point, is obviously no emergency at all", said Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, a frequent Trump critic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, wants Trump to end the shutdown first.

Almost half of all Americans (47 per cent) say there is a serious problem at the border but decline to call it a crisis.

A close Trump confidant judged the time for such a step had come.

Trump has told advisers he believes the fight for the wall - even if it never yields the requested funding - is a political win for him.

  • Tracy Klein