Trump ends shutdown talks, raising odds he'll declare emergency

Trump's speeches have sparked protests from opponents

Trump's speeches have sparked protests from opponents

Nearly half of the State Department employees in the U.S. and about one-quarter overseas have been granted a leave of absence during the shutdown.

The longest federal government shutdown in American history ground into a fourth week Saturday, Jan. 12, with President Donald Trump showing fresh defiance on Twitter, congressional Democrats firmly resolved to resist his calls for a border wall, and unpaid workers caught in the middle.

A quarter of USA federal government workers have been impacted by the partial shutdown but employees deemed "essential" workers must continue to work without pay.

Lawmakers tried to reassure federal employees that Congress was aware of the financial hardship they are enduring.

A solution could not come soon enough for around 800,000 federal workers who got pay statements on Friday but no pay. The Senate approved the bill unanimously Thursday.

FILE - President Donald Trump tours the US border with Mexico at the Rio Grande in McAllen, Texas, Jan. 10, 2019.

The Democrats have threatened immediate legal action if Mr Trump declares a national emergency.

"They think, 'Gee, we can hurt Trump, '" he said.

Trump insisted on Friday he was within his rights to declare a national emergency to secure funding, but said: "I'm not going to do it so fast". Trump has made similar complaints regarding Puerto Rico, claiming in September that the Hurricane Maria death toll released by the Puerto Rican government was part of a Democratic conspiracy to make him look bad.

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Instead, the president urged lawmakers to provide him the $5.7 billion he is seeking for border security.

Trump is growing more frustrated as the shutdown drags on and is complaining that his aides are not offering him an exit strategy. And Trump repeated Friday that he was not inclined to take that step immediately.

Trump delivered his first Oval Office address about his planned border wall in the middle of the shutdown (Picture: CARLOS BARRIA / POOL / AFP / Getty Images)What is the USA government shutdown about? That's according to a congressional aide and administration official familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the request.

'Most conservatives want it to be the last resort he would use, ' said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who speaks to Trump frequently.

Defence Department officials had already been poring over data on more than $10 billion in military construction projects to determine how much of it would be available for emergency spending this year. As Fox News host Chris Wallace noted, the figure that Sanders cited referenced arrivals mainly at US airports, and the Administration mostly stopped citing the figure after reports that government data might show as few as six or a dozen people on the watch list had been caught at the southern border. "With this lawsuit we're saying, 'No, you can't pay workers with I.O.U.s". Efforts at negotiating a broader immigration deal involving immigrants brought to the country illegally as children collapsed with little progress.

This article was written by Mike DeBonis, a reporter for The Washington Post.

"Just as you fight every day to keep our nation safe, this president and this administration will keep fighting to build the wall and give you the resources and reforms you need to do your job", Pence told several dozen unformed agents.

The current shutdown of the U.S. government has become the longest in the nation's history, as unpaid federal employees walk off the job in increasing numbers.

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