As US shutdown continues, President Trump switches to ‘steel barrier’
US president Donald Trump is standing firm on his demand for $5 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico but has said it it would be a “Steel Barrier” now, instead of concrete as the partial government shutdown caused by a stalemate on its funding entered the 17th day.
Calling Sunday negotiations with Democrats “productive”, the president wrote on Twitter later in the evening, “We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the USA”.
The office of management and budget of the White House has conveyed the change of plan in a letter to the Congress. It also said in the letter that $5 billion sought would only fund 234 miles of the nearly 2,000-mile border.
But Democrats have said there was no movement in the talks.
As the stalemate, which started on December 22, continues, making this the third-longest shutdown, the president has also indicated he might use his powers to declare a national emergency to fund the barrier, which he is allowed, by moving money from the defense budget meant for construction projects.
But he has also insisted that he prefers the find a solution through negotiations. “Let’s get our deal done in Congress!” the president wrote in tweet in response to a remark from Adam Smith, the new chairman of the House armed services committee, who Trump quoted as saying the president had the requisite authority.
The funding stalemate has shut down a fourth of the federal government, impacting 800,000 employees, either furloughed or working without pay.
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