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Trump Wants to Declare 'National Emergency' as Shutdown Showdown Drags On


It's payday for roughly a million government employees, but they won't see a paycheck as the government shutdown nears its third week and looks to become the longest in US history.

President Trump and his supporters want a wall on the southern border with Mexico, and he says he's getting closer to declaring a national emergency in order to get it done.

"If we don't make a deal with Congress, most likely I will do that. I would actually say, I would," he told Fox's Sean Hannity.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) told the president on Twitter: "Mr. President, the Democrats are not working in good faith with you. Declare emergency, build the wall now."

And President Trump tweeted this video from the border Thursday, standing with border agents who want to see a wall built there:

Inside the Senate, Democrat Chuck Schumer (NY) demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allow members to vote on legislation to re-open the government.

"Why aren't we voting on them? Because Leader McConnell is hiding behind President Trump," Schumer said.

But Republican Sen. James Lankford (OK) believes Democrats want the crisis to escalate.

"Lately what I'm hearing from Democrat colleagues is they quietly hope the president will declare a national emergency and build the wall out of something else and so they can go back to their base and say I stood strong against the president but he did it anyway," Lankford explained.

Pressure is mounting to find an escape hatch from the three-week impasse. Some 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, will miss their first paycheck Friday under the stoppage.

Some of them came out to protest in cities across the country.  Air traffic controller Dan McCabe fears losing his home.

"I mean, we're not driving the bus on this, but we're under the bus on this," McCabe said.

The president also has to fight the media's message which, according to Scott Whitlock of Newsbusters.com, is firmly on the side of the Democrats.

"They're very much taking the Democratic talking points as to who is to blame for the shutdown," Whitlock said, "and they're blaming the president."

The president has canceled an upcoming trip to Davos, Switzerland in 10 days, which means he's prepared to keep fighting. He's also consulting with attorneys on the use of his emergency powers and with the Army Corps of Engineers on finding money for the wall.  

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