COLUMBUS: Two-thirds of Americans oppose President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency if Congress doesn’t offer up the funds he wants to build a wall on the US-Mexican border, a CBS News poll released Sunday shows.
Most survey respondents — 73%– also said they want Trump to continue negotiating while keeping the government open, rather than forcing another shutdown when funding expires again in mid-February. A congressional committee is trying to reach an agreement on border security after the record 35-day government closing ended Jan 25.
Trump has said in recent days that negotiations are a “waste of time” because Democrats don’t support wall funding, and he said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS that another government shutdown or declaring a national emergency remain viable options.
“I don’t take anything off the table,” Trump said in the interview. “I don’t like to take things off the table.”
He said separately that “on the 15th we have now set the table beautifully because everybody knows what’s going on because of the shutdown.”
Republican lawmakers appearing on Sunday morning political shows pushed back on the prospect of an emergency declaration, saying they want the border funding issue to be settled through the normal appropriations process.
Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that while Trump has the power to declare an emergency, it would likely have to be decided by the courts.
“What we’d like to do is, do it in the appropriation process,” Shelby said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have shown we could do it.”
Even so, Shelby said as long as Trump and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remain at odds over allocating money for new wall construction, “the chances of us reaching an agreement are slim.”
Republican Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, one of the members of the conference committee, said border patrol professionals will be called in this week to talk about the needs. He said any solution must include funding for barriers, personnel and technology.
Not first choice
Asked about a potential emergency declaration, Hoeven said the best solution is “getting to one where Congress puts together a funding package for border security, including all three components as I’ve laid out, that is acceptable to the House, the Senate and to the president.”
Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida also said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump shouldn’t invoke executive authority to get border-wall funding.
“I don’t think it’s the first thing you want to do is use your emergency power to do things like this,” Scott said.
While 66% of Americans in the CBS survey oppose Trump declaring a national emergency to pay for a border wall, half of Republicans said he should demand funding, even if it means another government shutdown. 65% of Democrats want their party to continue negotiating with the government open, the poll found.
Asked about the state of the union compared with a year ago, 50% of Americans said it’s worse, 28% said it’s better and 22% said it’s about the same. Republicans were more positive than Democrats, and 77% overall said Trump’s policies are “a great deal” or “somewhat” responsible for the state of the economy, CBS said.
The survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,596 US residents interviewed online between Jan 28-31. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.