Donald Trump calls on Democrats to negotiate as shutdown sets record

The US government has been in shutdown for a record-equalling 21 days

Some US media reports suggest the White House is considering diverting some of the $13.9bn allocated past year by Congress for disaster relief in such areas as Puerto Rico, Texas and California to pay for the wall.

Some 800,000 federal employees, more than half still on the job, missed their first paycheck under a stoppage that tied a record for the longest government shutdown.

At least one airport planned to close a concourse as absences rose among security screeners who haven't received their wages.

The impasse has paralyzed Washington - its impact felt increasingly around the country - with the president retaliating by refusing to sign off on budgets for swaths of government departments unrelated to the dispute.

Vice President Mike Pence said Trump will sign legislation passed in Congress that will provide back pay to federal workers once the government reopens. Trump has made similar complaints regarding Puerto Rico, claiming in September that the Hurricane Maria death toll released by the Puerto Rican government was part of a Democratic conspiracy to make him look bad.

Experts have said even though the president may have the authority to invoke powers under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, using it will nearly certainly bring on a court battle.

While declaring a national emergency is not completely off the table, Trump backed away from his threat Friday, saying he'd rather work it out with Congress. People close to the President said fears about a sharp backlash from lawmakers played a significant factor in this, despite Sen.

Trump fired off a series of tweets pushing back against the notion that he doesn't have a strategy to end what became the longest government shutdown in US history when it entered its 22nd day Saturday.

Trump spoke after lawmakers had adjourned for the weekend, precluding any possible action until next week.

Nonetheless, Trump insisted he had the right to declare an emergency if he chose to, and continued to insist there was a crisis at the border.

The shutdown is now the longest in United States history, surpassing the 21-day closure that began during Bill Clinton's presidency in 1995. That ended when congressional Republicans agreed to a short-term funding bill for closed agencies that was later extended.

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Trump has repeatedly described the situation at the Mexico border as a "humanitarian crisis" as speculation has increased this week that he would circumvent Congress to begin building his signature wall - a move that would be sure to draw a court challenge from Democrats who say the barrier would be barbaric and ineffective. Because the funding has yet to be officially applied to these projects, the president has the authority to redirect it toward the construction of a border wall.

'I'd rather see the Democrats come back from their vacation and act, ' Trump said.

'Most conservatives want it to be the last resort he would use, ' said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who speaks to Trump frequently.

"We're either going to have a win, make a compromise, because I think a compromise is a win for everybody, or I will declare a national emergency", he said.

Opponents say that a unilateral move by the president over the sensitive border issue would be constitutional overreach and set a risky precedent in similar controversies.

However, this is contradicted by an archived campaign memo from 2016, where Mr Trump outlined how he planned to "compel Mexico to make a one-time payment" of $5-10bn for the wall.

Moreover, they say, it could lead the country into uncharted areas.

"I hope it works", he said in a statement.

"Democrats come back!" the president said. Nine of 15 cabinet-level departments were not funded.

"They can hold oversight hearings if they're so inclined, but in order to actually stop the emergency they would need to have a veto-proof majority in both houses", Boyle said.

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