Trump digs in on wall, as shutdown enters week 3

Image    Nancy Pelosi says Democrats 'respect our workers' and are trying hard to end the shutdown

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump would "meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis" along the 3,200-kilometer southern US border. After a round of staff-level talks Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that the session had been "productive", only to have Trump later tweet: "Not much headway made today".

The visit comes amid the continuing partial government shutdown and the President's insistence that any funding bill to reopen federal agencies include US$5.7 billion for his border wall.

President Donald Trump pushed Monday for a climax in his fight over a controversial US-Mexico border wall, announcing a primetime speech and a visit to the frontier. Democrats have offered about $1.6 billion for border security measures, but not for construction of additional segments of the wall.

Mulvaney, sought to frame Trump's support for a steel barrier as progress in the negotiations, saying on NBC that "if he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, 'See?"

Mr Trump threatened again, without providing specifics on where the funding would originate, to declare a national emergency as an alternative way to build the wall, depending on the outcome of talks in the coming days.

Adam Smith, D-Washington, said President Donald Trump does have the authority to call a national emergency over national security, but is "wide open" to a court challenge.

Mr Trump said in December he would be "proud" to shut the government down over the wall and last week told politicians it could last months. Democrat leaders have alternately called the wall too expensive, obsolete and "immoral".

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Here are five facts about Trump's emergency powers and the border wall.

Of course, the use of tear gas and other demonstrations of force by the Border Patrol is only necessitated by the fact that in most sections of the border, the only thing separating the US from Mexico is a single chain link fence, at best.

All the while, about 800,000 federal workers remained without pay, either at home or on the job, and key government services faced increasing strain and closure. In past US government shutdowns, the workers were paid retroactively once the funding impasses were resolved and Washington officials expect the same thing will occur again this time.

A Trump administration official says income tax refunds for 2018 will go out on time during the partial government shutdown because rules will be changed to make funding available to pay them. "That's why rich, powerful, and successful people build them around their homes". And hundreds of government scientists say they will miss crucial opportunities to exchange research and ideas because the shutdown is stopping them from attending major scientific conferences about technology, space exploration and climate change.

FiveThirtyEight notes that polling related to government shutdowns generally has no lasting effect on presidents or Congress.

The presidential comment came soon after US Vice President Mike Pence held a meeting with representatives of the top Democratic Congressional leaders - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

President Trump has made a number of misleading or inaccurate statements on subjects ranging from Russian interference, to farmers and trade, to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense. However, in a statement posted on Twitter earlier on Monday, the president said he would prefer reaching a funding deal with Congress.

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