Trump to travel to Southern border Thursday, Sarah Sanders says

Trump could compromise over concrete wall on Mexico border, says top aide

Trump's plans for a national address at 9:00 pm Tuesday (0200 GMT Wednesday) and a trip to the actual border Thursday raise the stakes in the row with congressional Democrats refusing to fund his wall project.

The United States is now planning to install a steel barrier instead of a concrete wall along its border with Mexico, President Donald Trump said Sunday indicating his administration and the opposition Democratic party are closer to resolving their difference on the issue, which has led to a partial government shutdown for a fortnight now.

"Look, if Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this President doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion dollar wall on the border".

Washington Democrat Adam Smith, the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Trump has the authority to declare an emergency and have the U.S. military build the wall but that such an action would likely be challenged and would be a bad use of defense spending.

"I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge saying, 'Where's the emergency?' " Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told ABC. And it repeats some existing funding requests for detention beds and security officers, which have already been panned by Congress and would likely find resistance among House Democrats.

Trump is demanding at least $5.6 billion for the wall.

Trump has often boasted of his tough negotiating skills as a real estate businessman, and he appears to relish the standoff, insisting he will deprive the government of full funding for as long as it takes to force the Democrats' hand - "even years". Democrat leaders have alternately called the wall too expensive, obsolete and "immoral".

Not all Republicans agree with Trump's insistence on keeping many government agencies shuttered until the border debate is resolved.

A border patrol office inside his vehicle guards the border fence at the USA side of San Diego, California, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 2, 2019.

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That happened on 22 December and a quarter of the government has been closed since, leaving some 800,000 workers either furloughed - a kind of temporary leave of absence - or working without pay. In past USA government shutdowns, the workers were paid retroactively once the funding impasses were resolved and Washington officials expect the same thing will occur again this time.

Trump will make that speech. "They always do. People understand what's going on".

A day earlier, he had tweeted he didn't care that "most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats".

Trump said he planned to call the heads of American steel companies in hopes of coming up with a new design for the barrier he contends must be built along the southern border.

Trump's fellow Republicans control the US Senate but are short of the 60 votes needed to pass budget laws, so some Democratic support will be needed for any move to end the impasse.

Trump himself quoted Smith's admission in a tweet, then added "No doubt, but let's get our deal done in Congress!".

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has flatly rejected providing any funding for a border wall to resolve the stalemate.

US president says he has weighed using emergency powers, but prefers reaching a negotiated agreement with congressional lawmakers.

Mr Trump has argued the wall is necessary for national security and has tried to link terrorism to illegal immigration, without providing evidence, as justification for the plan.

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