Saturday Set To Mark Longest Gov't Shutdown In U.S. History

Saturday is set to mark the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, as the White House and Democrats in Congress remain at odds over the funding of a wall at the border with Mexico proposed by President Donald Trump to fend off immigrants.

Part of the U.S. federal government shuttered since Dec. 22 after the bill funding the government expired and U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to veto any spending bill that does not contain the 5.7 billion U.S. dollars he is demanding to fund a wall on the southern border.

Neither side seems willing to back down. The Democrats accuse the president of using the shutdown and border crisis to score political points, while Trump maintains it's a matter of national security.

Meanwhile, the White House is weighing the declaration of a national emergency -- a legal mechanism that would allow the president to use the military to build the wall. Experts said such a scenario may well end the government shutdown, although Trump indicated Friday that this would not happen immediately.

Republican Strategist and TV news personality Ford O'Connell said the stalemate could well run until the president's State-of-the-Union address in late January. It is possible by then for the president to declare the border crisis a national emergency citing a 1976 act on the proclamation of a national emergency.

"The White House wants to turn the shutdown into a larger argument about border security, and they feel if they can do that they can win," O'Connell said.

O'Connell said currently hundreds of miles of the borderland already have some sort of barrier, and noted that Trump merely wants to fund coverage of the last 300 miles of unguarded border territory.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua

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