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Ahead of a rally Monday in El Paso, Texas, to boost support for his proposed border wall, President Trump signaled that he is still mulling an executive order to fund the barrier if congressional negotiations break down.
“President is on sound legal ground to declare a National Emergency. There have been 58 National Emergencies declared since the law was enacted in 1976, and 31 right now that are currently active, so this is hardly unprecedented,” Trump tweeted Sunday, citing Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who has encouraged Trump to end the stalemate by using national emergency funds to build the wall.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he expected the president to act alone if Congress fails to find a compromise.
“I do expect the president [to] take some kind of executive action. A national emergency is certainly part of that. There are a few other things in his toolbox that he could use,” Meadows said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“But I do expect him to do that if we don’t reach a compromise. And, listen, we have about 24 hours to do that.”
Lawmakers have until Feb. 15 to get a bill to Trump’s desk or another partial government shutdown will start.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also suggested the president could find a way to build the wall unilaterally.
“Our attitude at this point is we will take as much money as you can give us and then we will go find money someplace else legally in order to secure the southern barrier, but this is going to get built with or without Congress,” Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.”
While prospects for a deal looked promising going into the weekend, by Sunday morning two senators on the conference committee confirmed negotiations had hit a snag.
“I think the talks are stalled right now,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said on “Fox News Sunday,” putting the odds at reaching a deal at “50-50.”
One of his Democratic counterparts, Sen. John Tester of Montana, agreed.
“There are bumps in the road,” Tester said.
The Democrats wanted to lower the number of detention beds available for people arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the interior of the US — forcing ICE to focus on immigrants who have committed crimes, according to Reuters.
In turn the Democrats would fund some of Trump’s long-promised physical barrier.
Republicans balked at the offer, while Trump hammered the Democrats on the committee for holding things up.
“Not only are they unwilling to give dollars for the obviously needed Wall . . . but they don’t even want to take [murderers] into custody! What’s going on?” he tweeted.