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  • U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, Jan. 4, 2019.

    U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, Jan. 4, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 January 2019

Trump also criticized recent impeachment threats, arguing that he has achieved a strong performance as president and should not be a target for impeachment.

Friday President Donald Trump threatened to maintain the partial closure of the U.S. government for months or years, after once again failing to reach an agreement with Democratic leaders to resolve a dispute over a US$5.7-billion funding to build a wall at the country's border with Mexico.

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Trump Calls Last-minute Meeting With Lawmakers Over Border Wall

After a meeting with Democratic congressmen held at the White House, the Republican president claimed he could have the border wall built without Congress approval.

Senator Chuck Schumer announced that Democrats told Trump to end the standstill. "He resisted," the legislator said, adding that "in fact, he (Trump) said he would keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years."

At the White House meeting, Trump also criticized recent impeachment threats, arguing that he has achieved a strong performance as president and should not be a target for impeachment.

Trump has refused to support a bill that would fully fund the government, until he is allocated the money to build the wall. As a result, nearly 800,000 public workers have not received salaries and about one-quarter of the federal government has been closed since Dec. 22.

In the United States, a government shutdown occurs when either Congress fails to pass bills to fund federal government operations, or the if a president refuses to sign bills into law.

According to the 1884 Antideficiency Act, the federal government must "shutdown" activities so as to avoid any further budget deficit. Nevertheless, essential public employees are still required to work without pay until the government reopens.

Exceptions to the closure of public services could be effected when dealing with emergencies that compromise the safety of human life or the protection of property.

From 1980 to 2019 the U.S. Government has been shutdown 15 times. During the Trump Administration, there were three partial shutdowns in 2018.

Trump confirmed, to a reporter, that the declaration of a national emergency remains an option.

"Yes, I have. And I can do it if I want," Trump said. "We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country... I may do it. But we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly. And it's another way of doing it. But if we can do it through a negotiated process, we're giving that a shot."

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to finance the federal government meaning Trump would face legal recourse if he attempts to bypass Congress.

The political impasse over the border wall funding, however, could easily continue.

"This could go on for quite a while because this shutdown works for both parties politically. For President Trump, he is, again, backed himself into a corner, he says he wants a wall. For the Democrats, they can go back to their voters and say there is no way we are going to give funding for this wall," John Tamny, the editor of Real Clear Markets, said, stressing that the "continuation of the shutdown is in many ways what both parties need to do, to feed the needs of their bases."

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