Trump to address nation, visit southern border as national emergency looms over border wall
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Trump to address nation, visit southern border as national emergency looms over border wall

Trump announced the decision on Monday. The speech will take place at 9 pm Eastern time, when TV programs are known to have peak audiences. The White House occasionally requests major broadcasters to cut programming to cover significant speeches. Broadcasters have, however, occasionally turned down requests, deeming them not newsworthy enough. The country's four major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC , have confirmed receiving a White House request. Despite Trump's speculated announcement of a national emergency, none have yet decided to ditch their own primetime television programs. CNN, however, has confirmed its decision to air the speech. Also on Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that the president plans to visit the country's southern border on Thursday. The government was partially shut down after Congress refused to approve a $5 billion budget for Trump's southern border wall.  Trump made the wall a key election campaign promise in 2016, saying Mexico would pay for it and claiming it was needed to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Democrats have time and again called a border wall immoral, ineffective and medieval. The shutdown, entering its 18th day and marking the US' second ever-longest shutdown, has forced around 800,000 federal workers to work without pay or expecting to be furloughed. Negotiations with Democratic congressional staffers have so far failed. Earlier on Friday, Trump raised the possibility of going ahead with the planned border barrier by declaring a national emergency. Doing so would empower the president to allocate funds for the project without Congress approval. “We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly,” said Trump.  Democrats have, however, vowed to challenge such a decision. "Yes, there is a provision in law that says a president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times,” said the House's new Democratic armed services committee chairman Adam Smith. "In this case, I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge saying: ‘Where is the emergency?" Moving to counter a potentially prolonged government shutdown, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that the House may consider, later this week, approving individual funding bills to reopen different government departments.

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