President Donald Trump said Friday he might declare a national emergency in order to build the southern border wall.
While speaking to reporters at the White House and asked if he would consider declaring a national emergency, he said, “We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it,” the Washington Post reported.
WATCH: President Trump says he is considering declaring a national emergency as a potential attempt to circumvent Congress for border wall funding. pic.twitter.com/7CYDuBS2pn
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 4, 2019
The government has remained partially shut down since Dec. 22, 2018 – almost two weeks.
The main obstacle in garnering bipartisan approval for a federal appropriations bill has been the $5 billion Trump insists must be included for the construction of a border wall.
While they have publicly sparred on the issue, Trump also said Friday that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, had a “productive” meeting about the border.
Trump said they have designated a group of people who will meet over the weekend “to determine what we’re going to do about the border.”
The President says they all agree that the border ports should be “bigger, more powerful, [and] able to handle more traffic,” as well as “have the best drug-finding equipment in the world.”
Pelosi has insisted the border wall will not be funded and has called it “immoral.”
Last Friday, Trump issued a new threat to close the southern border if the Senate does not approve border wall funding.
“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!” Trump tweeted early last Friday morning.
Trump said he would not sign an appropriations bill if it did not include $5 billion for the construction of a wall on the southern U.S. border.
The House of Representatives last month approved a $5.7 billion allocation for Trump’s border wall, but the Senate refused to approve such a number before Congress adjourned on Dec. 21.
Closing the southern border would significantly affect trade and travel.
A report by CBS News earlier last month noted that $558 billion in trade goods crossed the border in 2017.
“Every day, an average of 120,000 commuter vehicles, 6,000 trucks and 63,000 pedestrians use the border gateway,” the report added.
Approximately 465,000 people cross through border entry points on a daily basis.
“The United States looses soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 Billion Dollars a year (not including Drug Money which would be many times that amount), that I would consider closing the Southern Border a ‘profit making operation.’ We build a Wall or close the Southern Border,” Trump said last Friday in a series of tweets.
“Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs. Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico. Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border,” he added.
Trump has predicted the partial government shutdown could be extensive, months or perhaps even more than a year.
He said in a tweet last month, “The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!”