Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) called on President Trump Thursday to bypass Congress and unilaterally fund the construction of a border wall by declaring a national emergency.
Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to negotiate on Wall/Barrier funding – even if the government were to be reopened – virtually ends congressional path to fund Wall/Barrier.
Time for President @realDonaldTrump to use emergency powers to build Wall/Barrier.
I hope it works.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 10, 2019
Graham, who has led Republicans in negotiations to end the ongoing 20-day government shutdown, told CNN Thursday evening that he has “never been more depressed about moving forward than right now” and predicted the current stalemate would last for days.
Graham’s comments came after Trump publicly entertained in recent days the possibility of using military funds to finance the construction of a $5.7 billion “steel-slate barrier” on the southern border.
“I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want,” Trump told reporters during a White House pool spray on Wednesday. “My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.”
White House advisers briefed the president on Thursday on a plan to use a portion of the $13.9 billion allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers for disaster recovery and infrastructure projects to fund the wall, NBC News first reported.
While the president has the authority to deploy funds as he see fits in the event of a national emergency, any move to fund the wall without explicit congressional approval is sure to draw an immediate legal challenge.
During a trip to the border town of McAllen, Texas on Thursday, Trump continued to make the case that the record number of migrant families arriving at the southern border each day constitutes a “crisis” that must be addressed, at least in part, with the construction of a physical barrier.
“They say a wall is medieval. Well, so is a wheel,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion at the Border Patrol station in McAllen. “There are some things that work. You know what? A wheel works, and a wall works.”