There has been a lot of speculation about how the government shutdown might end. One theory was that it would end with an emergency declaration by the president premised on a crisis along the southern border. That speculation may have moved one step closer to reality. A short time ago, Trump tweeted that he’d be making a big announcement about the border and the shutdown tomorrow:
That’s not much to go on and no one else is talking.
Asked if @POTUS will use Saturday announcement to declare a national emergency to build a border wall, @PressSec says she won't get ahead of @POTUS. "I suggest everybody tune in." She says he's continuing to look for an end to the crises at the border. pic.twitter.com/O3o1vIvexd
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) January 18, 2019
But earlier today Trump also tweeted this brief video: “Everything we’re asking for…this is what law enforcement wants,” Trump says in the clip, referencing his request for more border security. He adds, “Wait ’til you see the results. They’ll be proud of it and we’ll be even prouder.”
That certainly makes it sound as if Trump has a plan to move forward but as recently as Monday Trump said he did not want to go down the emergency declaration path. That’s because the expectation is that it won’t actually achieve anything for border security in the short term.
Trump has the authority to declare the emergency and he can use that as a justification to shuffle around several billion dollars from existing projects. But everyone anticipates that some Democratic AG will immediately file a lawsuit and the whole thing will be held up in the courts for months, possibly into 2020. So long as the funding is held up, Democrats can campaign on his failure to keep one of his major campaign promises, which is what they wanted all along.
The upside is that the declaration would make it possible for Congress to pass some funding bills (without the $5.7 billion border security money) and the government would reopen. That would presumably mean the State of the Union, scheduled for a week from Tuesday, would be back on. Democrats will spend the time between now and then declaring victory but Trump will get his chance to do the same before a larger audience at the SOTU.
This battle over the border, or at least this phase of the battle, might be ending but the war will go on. We’ll have to tune in tomorrow at 3 pm to find out what happens next.
Update: So maybe not an emergency declaration…
Two seniors sources tell me @realDonaldTrump will not announce national emergency in Saturday address; will outline what WH believes could be path to end #govermentshutdown No details on proposal; unclear if discussed w/top Dems. 1-2
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) January 19, 2019