President Donald Trump said today he does not support a proposal from Republican ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that he temporarily reopen the government to continue negotiations on funding for his promised border wall, according to Reuters.
The president also told reporters outside the White House that he’s “not looking to” declare a national emergency to build the wall either.
Graham called on the president to declare a national emergency last week, but over the weekend he switched course, proposing the president temporarily end the partial government shutdown in one last attempt to get funding for his border wall.
“I’d tried to see if we could open up the government for a limited period of time to negotiate a deal, and the president says, ‘Let’s make a deal; then open up the government,'” Graham told Fox News Sunday.
“Nancy Pelosi says, ‘Even if he opened up the government, I wouldn’t fund a wall,’ so that’s why I’m depressed,” he continued.
Graham says he believes the president might make a concession on important Democrat issues, like allowing the Dreamers to stay in America.
“He is willing, in my view, to do wall plus – funding for the wall that we desperately need that’s been done in the past,” he said. “See if we can do a deal around the TPS recipients – there are about 400,000.”
“They’re gonna lose their legal status soon; he’s willing to extend that,” Graham continued. “The DACA recipients – they’re all tied up in court – but I think he would give them work permits.”
It’s something the president also alluded to in a tweet.
Democrats are saying that DACA is not worth it and don’t want to include in talks. Many Hispanics will be coming over to the Republican side, watch!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2019
Meanwhile, Democrats are holding firm on their position of no funds for a wall.
“We first should reopen government,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) told NBC News’ Meet the Press. “All we want to do is make sure that it’s spent the right way. Drugs come in through ports of entry; let’s beef up ports of entry.”
The president has said if he can’t get a deal, he has the “absolute” legal right to declare a national emergency, but for now he’s holding off from doing it.
Hans Von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation tells CBN News the president does have the authority to use funds appropriated for other departments.
“There are a lot of funds appropriated by Congress that go to particular federal agencies that are tied to a very particular purpose,” he said. “On the other hand there are appropriated funds that go to federal agencies that are not.”
“He can do it, and it all depends on the White House finding money that’s already been appropriated but isn’t tied to a specific purpose,” Von Spakovsky continued.
Democrats say they would challenge such an emergency declaration in court.
Former director of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson says there are legal ways to go about it, but the backlash would be certain.
“The lawyers in the administration now seem to have come to a provision that allows for a reprogramming as we refer to it – taking money from Army civil works projects here in the United States that were at some point essential to national defense,” Johnson told CBS News’ Face the Nation. “This one is slightly more plausible but politically highly objectionable.”
Meanwhile, the government shutdown is now in its fourth week. The impact is being felt in airports as terminals in Miami and Dallas were shut down due to Transportation Security Administration employees not coming to work.
On Friday, the House voted almost unanimously to provide back pay to the nearly 800,000 furloughed workers. The president is expected to sign the legislation.