On Saturday as the partial government shutdown slipped into the record books, members of congress had left town and no negotiations were scheduled. President Donald Trump tweeted into the void.
He did not tip his hand on whether he will move ahead with an emergency declaration that could break the impasse, free up money for his wall without congressional approval and kick off legal challenges and a political storm over the use of that extraordinary step.
In Washington lawmakers are due back from their states and congressional districts in the new week. But there was another election, in November, and the consequence of that is that democrats are now controlling the house and they refuse to give Trump money for a wall.
He also added he has “no idea” whether he can get a deal with house speaker Nancy Pelosi, who opposes spending money on an “ineffective, wasteful wall.”
He is expected in the new week to sign legislation passed by Congress to provide back pay for some 800,000 federal workers who aren’t being paid during the shutdown. Trump has been counseled by outside advisers to move toward declaring a national emergency for the “crisis” that he says exists at the southern border.
Some of the advisers who want him to declare a national emergency say it could have two plus points.
Firstly, it would allow him to claim that he was the one to act to reopen the government. And the other one, inevitable legal challenges would send the matter to court, allowing Trump to continue the fight for the wall and continue to excite his supporters, While not actually closing the government or immediately requiring him to start construction.
Republicans believe such a declaration would usurp congressional power and could lead future Democratic presidents to make similar moves to advance liberal priorities.