US government shutdown set to hit record length

US government shutdown set to hit record length

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Washington, Jan 12 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump says it would be easy for him just to declare a national emergency and find federal money to build a barrier along the southern border, but he’s not going to be so quick to do that because he thinks lawmakers can do it. Trump spoke during a discussion Friday at the White House with state, local and community leaders about border security and safe communities.
The president says the “easy solution is for me to call a national emergency … but I’m not going to do it so fast.”
Trump says, “This is something that Congress can do.”
Attendees included state attorneys general, local elected leaders, faith leaders and federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling President Donald Trump’s threat to use disaster relief money to build a border wall “unconscionable.”
The new Democratic governor says the proposal would take away money from California communities devastated by a disaster to “pay for an immoral wall that America doesn’t want or need.”
The president earlier threatened to withhold federal emergency money for California’s wildfire response.
Seven water-related California projects are on the chopping block. One includes raising parts of the Folsom Dam to prevent flood risk in the Sacramento region. The dam is one of the nation’s five critical infrastructure dams.
President Donald Trump says his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border supports what he sees as a crisis of drugs and crime coming across.
He tweets that “it is a far worse situation than almost anyone would understand, an invasion!”
During a visit to the Texas border this week, Trump was presented with statistics on unauthorized crossings and an array of drugs seized by agents. But the drugs were intercepted at official points of entry, not the areas where Trump wants to build a wall. And when Trump travelled to the Rio Grande, there were no signs of invading hordes.
Trump is trying to get lawmakers to fund the wall as part of ending the partial government shutdown.
Vice President Mike Pence is pledging that the Trump administration will keep fighting to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Pence made that commitment during what was meant to be a morale-boosting appearance at the Washington headquarters for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
CBP agents are among the 800,000 federal employees who must work without pay during what is on track to become the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
Pence told several dozen agents that just as they fight daily for the nation’s security, “this president and this administration will keep fighting to build the wall.”
Just a few Republicans have joined Democrats as the House has voted to reopen some agencies closed by the partial federal shutdown.
The measure isn’t expected to go anywhere in the GOP-controlled Senate, and the closure is continuing for a record-tying 21st day.
The vote shows that Republicans, at least in the House, remain largely behind President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in taxpayer money to start building his proposed border wall with Mexico.
The House voted by a near party-line 240-179 on Friday to reopen the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and some smaller agencies.
Ten Republicans joined all voting Democrats by voting “yes.” The 10 defections were similar to the number of House Republicans who’ve supported other spending measures.
The government also closed for 21 days beginning in December 1995.
U.S. officials say the Pentagon is finalizing plans that would send hundreds of additional active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border for several more months to support the Department of Homeland Security and install another 160 miles (257 kilometres) of concertina wire in Arizona and California.
Details are being worked out, but the plan likely would extend the military’s border mission through the end of September. The mission is separate from President Donald Trump’s campaign to build a border wall but is designed to bolster security.
Officials said Friday the installation of the wire barrier is not expected to take that long, so troops doing that would be finished long before September.
There currently are 2,350 active-duty troops assigned to the border mission, which was slated to end Jan. 31.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet approved.

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