US Shutdown Sets Record as Trump Tweets into Void

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption'I don't need a wall I want money to plant crops

President Donald Trump said yesterday he would not declare a national emergency "right now" to end a standoff over border security that has idled large swaths of the USA government, all but guaranteeing that he will preside over the longest shutdown in US history.

Asked by Fox News why he did not immediately declare a national emergency to secure the funds without congressional approval, Mr Trump said he wanted to give opposition Democratic lawmakers more time to strike a deal.

"Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option - and I think we are nearly there - I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal", Mr Graham said on Fox News Sunday. "Other presidents have called many national emergencies for things of lesser importance, frankly, than this, ' Trump said on Saturday night in a live telephone interview with Fox News" Jeanine Pirro.

Two new polls, by The Washington Post and ABC News, along with one from CNN, showed American voters blame Trump and Republicans more than Democrats for the partial government shutdown and oppose construction of the wall.

The record shutdown has furloughed 800,000 federal employees and cut government services across the USA, caused by a lack of agreement between Republicans and Democrats over their funding.

Trump said he had been stuck in the White House waiting for Democrats to make a deal.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mocked the president as she told reporters it was up to Trump to make the next move. "That's why I'm depressed".

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., called Graham's idea for a brief reopening of the government a "great place to start".

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".

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Trump has tried various angles to pressure Democratic negotiators, but they have not visibly budged from an offer to support some border security spending - the figure of $1.3 billion has been floated - but not the $5.7 billion he wants for a wall.

Democrats oppose such a declaration but may be powerless to stop it.

'I'd rather see the Democrats come back from their vacation and act, ' Trump said.

Trump has kept Washington on edge over whether he would resort to such a declaration, citing what he says is a "crisis" of drug smuggling and the trafficking of women and children at the border.

Items ranging from beds to old toys have been listed as "government shutdown specials".

But the measures are unlikely to be approved by the Senate, which is controlled by Mr Trump's Republicans. The only option, Graham tweeted, was for Trump to "declare a national emergency NOW". "The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. I will declare a national emergency", Trump said. On Sunday, Trump acknowledged, at least indirectly, the mounting costs of the shutdown. We can end this easily - We need a Steel Barrier or Wall.

Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, said on "Meet the Press" that Democrats have backed more funding for border security "over and over and over again".

They are classed as essential employees and required to work, but many are calling in sick to protest the situation.

Terminal G security checkpoint of Miami International Airport, one of six, is deserted on Saturday, January 12, 2019 after it was forced to shut down due to a shortage of security agents. "I think we're talking days, not weeks", the chairman and founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus said. Senate Democrats, whose votes would be needed to advance such legislation, have not indicated whether they would back it because they want the government to reopen instead.

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