Trump says he’s in no rush to declare national emergency
President Trump has gone cold on the idea of declaring a national emergency to fund the contentious border wall, he said Friday — as the government shutdown headed into record-breaking territory.
“We want Congress to do its job,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “What we’re not looking to do right now is national emergency.”
His remarks come just a day after telling Fox News he would “most likely” declare the emergency, which would allow him to bypass Congress to secure the $5.7 billion he wants to build a barrier between the US and Mexico — and nix the need for a shutdown.
Trump said he would make the declaration if Congress won’t give him the money, but said it’s an “easy way out” — and would likely turn into a drawn-out court battle.
“I’ll be sued and it will be brought to the 9th Circuit . . . and we will probably lose there” before a possible Supreme Court victory, he said. “I’d rather not do it.”
During a roundtable discussion with law-enforcement officials Friday, Trump discussed the building materials he would like to use for the wall, promoting “steel that has concrete inside . . . not a bad combination.”
The impasse will have dragged on for 22 days by Saturday, bypassing the 21-day record set during the Clinton administration in 1995-96.
The standstill is shaving $1.2 billion off the US economy every week, Standard & Poor’s said Friday — putting the current price tag at $3.6 billion.
“That may seem like pennies for the world’s biggest economy, but it means a lot to those workers trying to cover their household costs without their paychecks,” said Beth Ann Bovino, S&P’s chief US economist.
Many of the 800,000 federal employees who have been furloughed or are working without a salary during the shutdown missed their first paycheck Friday.
“I appreciate their service,” Trump said of those staring at pay stubs reading “$0.00.”
“I appreciate their incredible support . . . I just really appreciate the fact that they have handled this so incredibly well,” he added.
Among them are air traffic controllers who sued the Trump administration Friday, arguing the pay freeze has had a “devastating effect” on their lives and is putting passengers at risk.
The suit, filed by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association in DC federal court, alleges the government is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay the workers at least minimum wage, as well as overtime, during the shutdown.
The House on Friday passed a bill — previously approved by the Senate — to ensure that all government workers are paid retroactively once the shutdown ends.
Meanwhile, with their TSA screeners calling in sick at twice the normal rate, Miami International Airport plans to shut one terminal over the weekend, a spokesman told the Miami Herald.
TSA managers aren’t sure they will have enough workers to staff all 11 checkpoints, said airport spokesman Greg Chin.