Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
World News | By Sandy Lane

Sen. Lindsey Graham says he sees no "pathway forward" in shutdown dispute

Sen. Lindsey Graham says he sees no

President Trump seems determined to find a way to fund a border wall between the US and Mexico - even if it means diverting billions of dollars of aid originally earmarked for Puerto Rico and other communities recovering from disasters.

On Friday, the shutdown reached a new milestone by stretching into its 21st day and matching the record for the longest government shutdown in USA history, and for many of those federal employees work without pay or on furlough, today marks the first full paycheck they'll miss under the shutdown. Democrats, meanwhile, say they will not fund the wall.

"Time for President [Trump] to use emergency powers to build wall/barrier", Graham said via Twitter on Thursday. That's according to a congressional aide and administration official familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

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Pelosi has not said how House Democrats would respond to Trump declaring a national emergency, but she predicted a bipartisan rejection of an attempt by the White House to skirt Congress's power. The funding was allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers back in a February 2018 but never spent.

While it's unclear whether Trump will indeed declare a national emergency, he told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday that without a deal with Congress, "most likely I will do that". "It would be an incredible disservice to the American people and the economy" to divert the money to the border wall, he said.

Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, put it this way: "The President and Schumer and Pelosi are going to have to get together and say, 'This is what we agree on'".

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Trump visited McAllen, Texas, and the Rio Grande on Thursday to highlight what he calls a crisis of drugs and crime along the border. Like almost all drugs trafficked across the border, they were intercepted by agents at official ports of entry, he was told, and not in the remote areas where he wants to extend tall barriers.

In Washington, federal workers denounced Trump at a rally with congressional Democrats, demanding he reopen the government so they can get back to work.

Republicans are trying to decouple the shutdown, now in its 20th day, from the feud between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the border wall.

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President Trump announced the cancellation of his upcoming trip to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, due to the partial government shutdown.

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