President Donald Trump is pushing back against the idea that he doesn't have a strategy to end the partial government shutdown, now into its fourth week. The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, said Sunday on ABC that "if this president is going to turn to national emergencies every time he disagrees with Congress, I'm against it". Many Republicans are wary, too.
The White House explored diverting money for wall construction from a range of other accounts.
One close Trump ally, Republican Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, said late Thursday that the declaration was "inevitable".
To support its workforce, the TSA said it was processing pay for employees who worked on the first day of the shutdown and announced $500 bonuses for uniformed screening officers.
The President has insisted on more than $5 billion in funding for his long-promised wall at the US-Mexico border.
Trump spoke with Jeanine Pirro during "Justice with Judge Jeanine" Saturday on Fox News and deflected questions about when he would use emergency powers to stop the record-setting partial government shutdown.
An estimated 800,000 federal workers have been affected by the lapse in funding - either by having to work without pay while it lasts or by being furloughed.
He tweeted: "I am in the White House waiting for Cryin' Chuck and Nancy to call so we can start helping our Country both at the Border and from within".
Fight for the Future swiftly circulated a petition following Pelosi's speech, calling on Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Schuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) not to replace Trump's proposed wall-which critics say would further endanger migrant families coming to the USA -with a surveillance system that would threaten their right to be protected from unlawful search and seizure.
Democratic Congresswoman Accuses Anti-BDS Lawmakers of Forgetting 'What Country They Represent'
Senators Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to the Senate, arguing that the bill will harm free speech in the US. The bill was supported only by 56 out of 100 senators, while 60 votes were needed for further consideration of the bill.
"It's the last option, not the first option, but we're pretty close to that being the only option", Graham said of an emergency declaration.
But there was another election, in November, and the effect of that is that Democrats now control the House and they refuse to give Trump money for a wall.
"I want to give them a chance to see if they can act responsibly", Trump said.
For now, there is still no end in sight to the current shutdown, which has impacted roughly a quarter of the federal government and hundreds of thousands of federal workers.
"I don't know where it's going but I can tell you this", he said.
Democrats have been calling on Trump and Senate Republicans to allow a vote on a short-term bill that would open the government, giving the two sides more time for talks.
Trump has said he would consider declaring a national emergency, which would give him powers to build the wall without congressional approval - a move that would likely be aggressively opposed by Democrats, and even some Republicans. The White House also was eyeing military construction funds, another politically hard choice because the money would be diverted from a backlog of hundreds of projects at bases around the nation.
"We will be out for a long time unless the Democrats come back from their "vacations" and get back to work", Trump tweeted Saturday morning. That ended when congressional Republicans agreed to a short-term funding bill for closed agencies that was later extended.
Trump was ridiculing about 30 opposition Democratic lawmakers who flew to the sun-drenched Caribbean island territory of Puerto Rico for a charity performance of the hit Broadway show "Hamilton".