Trump, Dems to address shutdown in primetime
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Tonight, we’re getting not one but two primetime addresses in Washington.
First, President Donald Trump will address the government shutdown and border wall. That’s followed by some developing news today that most major television networks will carry an address by Democratic leaders Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump is scheduled to speak at 9p.m. ET with the Democratic response to follow.
What can be gained by a primetime, nationally televised address? Tonight’s speech is really the President’s way of justifying the need for border wall funding, which is causing the partial government shutdown and is now in its 18thday.
It’s unclear if the president will declare a “national emergency” in the speech, according to Vice President Mike Pence during a CBS This Morning interview Tuesday morning. Declaring a national emergency could allow Trump to get that funding without congressional approval. However, White House counsel reportedly isn’t sold on that idea.
There are still no signs that Democrats will give the president the $5.7 billion Trump has requested for the border wall. That funding is less than one-percent of the entire federal budget.
In the CBS interview, Pence says this rests squarely on the shoulders of Congressional Democrats, and wouldn’t confirm if the president will call for a “national emergency” declaration.
“The time has come for the democrats to come to the table and start negotiating not just to end the partial government shutdown, but to address the humanitarian and security crisis,” Pence said.
Despite the President’s speech coming from the Oval Office, this will appear much like a State of the Union address.
Schumer and Pelosi announced today they will deliver a Democratic Party response following Trump’s address where they are expected to refute Trump’s claims that the wall is necessary.
However, data collected by the Pew Research Center from November, for example, could back up that claim. They found that the number of unauthorized illegal immigrants was at its lowest point in nearly a decade, from 12.2 million in 2007 to 10.7 in 2016, the last time federal government data was released.
But that number is still roughly three-times higher than the number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 1990, an estimated 3.5 million, according to the Pew report.