La. congressmen react to ongoing stalemate over border security, national emergency debate

La. congressmen react to ongoing stalemate over border security & national emergency debate

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - While President Donald Trump did not make a national emergency declaration over border security during his nationally televised Oval Office address Tuesday night (Jan. 8), Trump said the idea is not dead. But, members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation offered mixed views on the topic.

"My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable,” Trump said Wednesday, the day after his address.

According to FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman, the president’s speech did not succeed in moving either party closer to a compromise.

“The president tried to shake things up with a televised Oval Office address to break a stalemate,” Sherman said. “It’s clear that, that didn’t happen. Both sides only dug their feet in much deeper since that televised Oval Office address.”

Members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation did not signal any impending resolution to the partial government shutdown, which stems from a fight over border security.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. said he wants the government back open and believes the democrats do too, but said they are “down to four options."

“Number one - the president blinks, ain’t gonna happen,” Kennedy said. “Number two - Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi blinks. I don’t think she’s going to blink not until she can see the wisdom of a wall. Number three - government stays closed. Number four - the president uses his emergency powers, now I’m not recommending that he do that.”

GOP House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto both said they support the president’s persistence.

"We know that we need the wall. This is a matter of national security, I’ve been down there,” Abraham said.

“He ought to use every legal tool possible,” Scalise said. “No president can circumvent Congress, but at the same time, every president has flexibility within each department and President Trump is right now looking into what other options he has.”

Louisiana’s only Democratic congressman Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, said the president cannot unilaterally declare a national emergency related to border security.

"Absolutely not. The president has tried a million things that have been ruled unconstitutional by the courts,” Richmond said.

As the shutdown continues through its second week, 800,000 federal government workers are not receiving pay.

"I am hearing from our federal workers,” Richmond said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture complex in New Orleans is closed due to the government shutdown, and there are growing concerns because USDA loans cannot be processed.

"That will affect Louisiana and our farmers, our homeowners, those that are trying to buy these USDA homes. They are feeling the pinch, but I’ve talked to a lot of these people, they understand the importance of this issue,” Abraham said.

According to Sherman, if the shutdown does not end soon, there will be more pressure on the nation’s leaders to resolve their differences and to reopen all federal government agencies.

“The ordinary American hasn’t yet felt pain from this shutdown. That’s going to start to change,,,I think that’s going to start happening over the next week, or two and that’s going to raise the pressure to reopen government,” Sherman said.

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