Senior Republican leader urges Trump to temporarily reopen US government

NEW YORK, Jan 14 (APP):Amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history and with President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats no closer to a deal, pressure is mounting on Senate Republicans to devise an exit plan that will get federal employees back to work and pull their party out of a deepening political crisis, according to political observers.The observers noted that Republicans are increasingly concerned that the standoff over Trump’s long-promised wall along the border with Mexico is hurting their party, Senator Lindsey Graham, suggested temporarily reopening the government while continuing negotiations. If talks don’t bear fruit, Graham, a key Trump ally,  said Sunday, the president could consider following through on his threat to bypass Congress and build the border wall by declaring a national emergency.
	“I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.” “See if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off. See if he can do it by himself through the emergency powers.”
	Observers noted that Sen. Graham' maneuvering highlights the difficult balancing act Senate Republicans will probably face over the next two years, trapped between a mercurial Republican president and an emboldened new House Democratic majority. President Trump hasn't commented on Graham's suggestion.
	The two sides remained far apart Sunday. Tweeting from the White House as the capital was blanketed by snow for the first time this year, Trump continued to point the finger at Democrats, who he said were “everywhere but Washington as people await their pay.”
          Some Republicans who railed against executive overreach during President Barack Obama’s administration now fear that a future Democratic president could similarly declare a national emergency and fund projects without congressional approval. 
           “If today the national emergency is border security, tomorrow the national emergency might be climate change,” Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, said this week.
             Both Republicans and Democrats also said they believe the move would likely be challenged in court, blocking construction of a wall the administration has said is needed immediately to address an urgent “crisis” on the border.
            During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Graham suggested that Trump sign a bill funding the government for three weeks to allow time for further negotiations with Democrats before the president “pulls the plug” on an emergency declaration.
             Democrats have been calling on Trump and Senate Republicans to allow a vote on a short-term bill that would open the government, giving the two sides more time for talks.
           “What Lindsey Graham just told the president is a great place to start,” Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat,  said in a separate appearance on ”Fox News Sunday.”
           The consequences of the partial government shutdown are mounting for national parks, airports, food inspections, emergency preparations and a host of other services. Some 800,000 federal workers missed their first paycheck on Friday, prompting fears among many of taking on debt to pay for food, medication, rent and loans.
            Republicans are also losing the battle for public opinion amid the partial shutdown, which is now the longest in history. 
            Fifty-three percent of Americans surveyed said Trump and the Republicans are at fault for the shutdown, while only 29 percent said Democrats are to blame, according to a Washington Post/ABC poll released Sunday.