There are just 15 days left for President Trump and congressional Democrats to find common ground on border security, or the threat of another government shutdown looms.
The president has threatened to declare a national emergency to fund a $5.7 billion wall on our southern border, but many Republicans have said that would set a terrible precedent, and are not encouraging him down that path.
Then there’s Rick Scott.
Florida’s junior Republican U.S. senator told reporters in the nation’s capital on Thursday that while he’d prefer that it not come to that, he’s okay with Trump declaring a national emergency.
“President Trump has tried to work with Congress to get something done, but if the Democrats continue to refuse to work with him, the president needs to use his emergency powers to fund border security and include a permanent solution for DACA and TPS,” Scott said in a statement, referring to the acronyms for two federal programs that would allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. without threat of deportation.
Scott says he supports a compromise deal that would include “real border security,” as well as permanent fixes for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status programs, as well as a disaster relief package that would allow Florida and Puerto Rico to receive disaster relief funding.
However, a new report indicates that Trump is now backing away from including a compromise package that addresses DACA.
“I could see myself doing something for DACA but I want to find out what the Supreme Court is going to do first,” Trump told the Daily Caller this week, noting that “it’s highly unlikely” that he would want to discuss the immigration program while negotiations are ongoing over funding for a border wall.
Florida’s other Republican senator does not agree.
“If today the national emergency is border security…tomorrow the national emergency might be climate change,” the Miami Republican said earlier this month.
Iowa’s Chuck Grassley is another Senate Republican who says the president would be setting a bad precedent by going around Congress to fund the wall.
The American people are also against the idea.
Only 34 percent of Americans think Trump should declare a national emergency in order to use military funding for the wall, according to a Monmouth University poll released this week. Nearly twice as many people – 64 percent – believe Trump should not bypass Congress.
Scott says he understands the sentiment against such a move, but believes that if Democrats don’t compromise on the wall, the president will have no alternative.
“I know there will be critics that say the president shouldn’t do things like this by executive order. And they aren’t necessarily wrong. I was critical of Obama when he tried to solve the DACA issue by EO (executive order),” Scott said. “President Trump proposed logical solutions, and if the Democrats won’t negotiate with him because their judgement is clouded by their pure hatred of him, then the president needs to move forward.”