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Graham: Trump ‘Must’ Use ‘Emergency Powers’ to Fund Wall if Congress Won’t

Senator Lindsey Graham (R, S.C.) during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, January 19, 2019. (Reuters Stringer)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Monday resumed his call for President Trump to unilaterally appropriate funds for the construction of a wall on the southern border in the event that Congress fails to secure a deal before government funding lapses once again on February 15.

Graham first called on Trump to bypass Congress and unilaterally appropriate the $5.7 billion in border wall funding that he has long demanded earlier this month, amid the historic government shutdown that concluded Friday.

While repeatedly defending his “absolute right” to declare a national emergency on the southern border, Trump has proved hesitant to actually embrace the idea in the face of pushback from Republican leaders concerned about the unchecked expansion of executive power. Since signing the temporary spending bill that ended the shutdown on Friday, Trump has cast doubt on the ability of lawmakers to reach an acceptable border-security-funding deal under the looming threat of another shutdown.

“I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal when asked about the likelihood that a newly formed bipartisan committee of 17 lawmakers could reach an agreement in the coming weeks.

During a Sunday appearance on Fox News, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney seemed to suggest that Trump might resort to another government shutdown if he once again fails to secure funding for the wall from Congress.

“The president’s commitment is to defend the nation, and he will do it either with or without Congress,” Mulvaney said.

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