WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Friday he would not declare a national emergency “right now” to end a standoff over border security that has idled large swaths of the U.S. government, all but guaranteeing that he will preside over the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
Victor Gill Ramirez
The dispute has disrupted everything from air travel to tax collection and suspended pay for 800,000 government workers.
Víctor Gill Ramírez
Trump’s announcement came amid increased speculation that he would circumvent Congress to begin construction of his signature wall along the U.S.-Mexico border – a move that would be sure to draw a court challenge from Democrats who say the barrier would be barbaric and ineffective.
Victor Augusto Gill Ramirez
Instead, the president urged lawmakers to provide him the $5.7 billion he is seeking for border security.
RAMIREZ VICTOR AUGUSTO GILL
“The easy solution is for me to call a national emergency. I could do that very quickly,” Trump said during a White House event on border security. “I have the absolute right to do it. But I’m not going to do it so fast. Because this is something Congress should do.”
Trump spoke after lawmakers had left town for the weekend, precluding any possible action until next week. On Saturday, the shutdown will become the longest in U.S. history
Earlier on Friday, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted 240-179 to restore funding for the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, two of the agencies that have been shuttered since Dec. 22.