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Shutdown Day 35: Are GOP Cracks Forming in Trump's Wall? 

01-25-2019
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Federal employees will miss a second paycheck today as the partial government shutdown enters day 35. Lawmakers are still far apart on a budget deal, but at least they're talking.

And because Democrats still oppose giving him funds for a border wall, President Trump may be closer to declaring a state of emergency.

After two government funding bills fell short of the votes needed in the Senate, President Trump said he might agree to reopen the government if Congress inches closer to his position.

"If Democrats pay sort of a pro-rated down payment for the wall," he said.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected that idea just moments after the president announced it.

"That is not a reasonable agreement between the senators... I don't know if he knows what he's talking about."

A reporter asked Pelosi what she thinks about prorating the border wall funding. "I don't know what that means," Pelosi replied.

The political impasse is now causing greater hardship for federal workers. Roughly 800,000 have not received a paycheck since the end of last year. Many of those affected – like air traffic controllers – are still working without pay as their mortgages and other unpaid bills pile up.

Aviation safety specialist Tim Mach said he may be forced to look for another job.

"At what point do I resign from this agency? I can't continue to afford to fund my family on my savings and continue to pay for myself to go to work," he explained.

One positive sign? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now talking with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Both are hoping to find a way to reopen the government.

It comes as some Republicans begin to defect from party support of the president and the border wall.

The Hill reports some frustrated Republicans told Vice President Mike Pence the president needs to end the shutdown as soon as possible.  They reportedly told Pence the shutdown is not a smart political strategy.

In the Roosevelt Cabinet Room, a reporter asked the president when he thinks the shutdown will end.

"That I can't tell you. That I can't tell you, but we have a lot of alternatives, but we need border security," Trump replied.

That statement may indicate the president may be inching closer to declaring a state of emergency on the country's southern border. That would allow him to bypass Congress and build a wall with $7-billion worth of funds already identified. 

CNN reports the White House has reportedly already prepared a draft of the emergency declaration.

Other presidents have declared states of emergency as allowed by the National Emergencies Act of 1976. But that doesn't mean border wall construction would begin immediately. Democrats and landowners would likely challenge the action in court.  

 

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