Lindsey Graham urges Trump to reopen government for three week period

People look across Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House

President Donald Trump said he was holding off on declaring a state of emergency to end the partial USA government shutdown that dragged into a 23rd day on Sunday (Jan 13), as he insisted on US$5.7 billion (S$7.7 billion) to build a Mexico border wall that congressional Democrats oppose.

Asked by Fox News why he did not immediately declare a national emergency to secure the funds without congressional approval, Mr Trump said he wanted to give opposition Democratic lawmakers more time to strike a deal.

Mr. Graham said lawmakers could continue to negotiate and hopefully reach a deal before the president takes such an enormous step.

The New York Times said it was not clear if the investigation to determine whether Mr Trump was deliberately working for Russian Federation or had unintentionally been influenced by Moscow was still being pursued.

Democrats and the president remain at loggerheads, with party leaders saying they won't agree to fund any kind of wall or barrier and Trump insisting he won't agree to reopen the government until the wall is funded.

About 800,000 federal workers missed their first paychecks on Friday in the closures that have shuttered about a quarter of US government operations.

Trump most recently has blamed Democrats for the government shutdown, but before it started December 22, he said he said he would be "proud" to "own" it. "That's why I'm depressed".

But Trump said Friday that he wasn't rushing to use that option, which would be challenged in court and, if not overturned, establish a precedent expanding the power of future Democratic presidents.

Vice President Mike Pence said Trump will sign legislation passed in Congress that will provide back pay to federal workers once the government reopens.

Congressional Democrats are engaged in a more than three-week battle with Senate Republicans and the White House over funding for a wall along the southern border.

Democrats oppose such a declaration but may be powerless to stop it.

A national emergency would allow Trump to divert money from other projects to pay for the wall, which was a central promise of his 2016 campaign.

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A later tweet said damage from "Drugs, Crime and so much that is bad" were worse for the U.S. than the government shutdown.

Trump said in a separate tweet.

Trump contended, "I'm ready, willing and able to get a deal done...."

Trump tweeted that "to understand" his plan, "you would have to understand the fact that I won the election, and I promised safety and security for the American people".

Mr Trump has raised the stakes by threatening to declare a national emergency and circumvent Congress and get the money he needs. Neither Trump nor the Democrats are showing any signs of giving in to the other side.

But the measures are unlikely to be approved by the Senate, which is controlled by Mr Trump's Republicans. "The easiest solution to the shutdown, just give President Trump the money", he said. "We need money to pay bills".

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he'd "hate to see" an emergency declaration by Trump.

Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, said on "Meet the Press" that Democrats have backed more funding for border security "over and over and over again".

Over the weekend, part of Miami International airport was closed because of a shortage of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents caused by the shutdown.

Philip Rucker, the White House bureau chief at the Washington Post, went on to say that Trump's latest tweets about the shutdown appeared to be in response to Rucker's appearance on NBC's Today Saturday morning.

House Democrats as well as a smattering of Republicans voted this week in favor of bills to reopen portions of the government.

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