Donald Trump once promised his supporters that Mexico would pay for the border wall. Now, it appears that he’s doubling down on a threat to declare a national emergency to pressure Congress to approve the wall’s funding. According to Reuters, the White House has confirmed that the national emergency option is “still on the table.”
“We’re hopeful, again, that they’ll get serious about doing their jobs and work with us,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. “We’ve shown our willingness to work with them.”
As Reuters notes, if Trump declares a national emergency he’ll be able to bypass Congress to get the wall built. Legislators have the power to veto his decisions but that has to have support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Trump may be counting on the Republican dominated Senate to back him but there are reports the GOP may not completely back the national emergency option.
As Vox reports, leading conservative voices have opposed the idea because it represents a huge imposition of presidential power.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Senator Marco Rubio said that if Trump declared a national emergency over the border wall, it could end up damaging future election prospects for the Republican party.
“We have to be careful about endorsing broad uses of executive power,” he said. “I’m not prepared to endorse that right now.”
During a national address from the Oval Office on Tuesday, Trump skirted around officially declaring a national emergency on border security, but reiterated his claims that mass illegal immigration at the border undermined the security of Americans.
“My fellow Americans, tonight I’m speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border…” he said. “America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation, but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration.”
The partial government shutdown, which started because of the impasse over border wall funding, is now close to three weeks old. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have had their salaries furloughed or have had to work without being paid. Several workers affected by the shutdown have taken to social media to complain about the shutdown’s ongoing effects on their financial well being. On Twitter people have been using “#shutdownstories” to document their experiences.
“I can’t ‘get another job’ during the shutdown–my agency requires pre-approval to do other work,” wrote one Twitter user. “Trying to stay upbeat and hang on.