Several recent polls show Trump bearing most of the blame for the shutdown, political fallout that some Republicans fear could affect the party as a whole.
Friday marks the first day that hundreds of thousands of federal employees will miss their paychecks and agencies, such as the National Park Service, have had to suspend or curtail their operations. On Saturday, the shutdown will set the record for the longest in U.S. history.
Lawmakers left the nation's capital on Friday after talks between Trump and top Democrats to end the shutdown collapsed in acrimonious fashion and no new meetings have been scheduled.
Trump has sought to highlight ways his administration is trying to ease the pain of the shutdown, confirming in his Friday remarks that he will sign legislation granting federal employees back-pay once the shutdown ends. Congress passed the legislation earlier in the day.
Some GOP lawmakers have nonetheless been eager to find an off-ramp from the standoff as the pain from the shutdown is beginning to be felt.
The White House has looked at $13.9 billion in funding approved by Congress last year as part of a disaster response bill to use for building Trump’s wall in the event he declares an emergency. That bill provided funding for various Army Corps of Engineers projects that has been allocated but not spent.
But that idea received blowback from lawmakers representing states and territories, such as Texas and Puerto Rico, that were hit by devastating hurricanes last year.
Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw said Friday he received an assurance from acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump's relocation of the Bureau of Land Management was part of a familiar Republican playbook Jan. 6 committee issues latest round of subpoenas for rally organizers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - To vote or not? Pelosi faces infrastructure decision MORE that funds for Hurricane Harvey relief will not be touched. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) separately said the White House gave him the same guarantee.
An administration official told The Hill the White House is also looking at the possibility of repurposing money in asset-forfeiture funds from the Treasury or Justice Departments to use for the wall.
The idea has been floated by a number of GOP lawmakers, including Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyDemocrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Sunday shows - Voting rights legislation dominates GOP senator knocks Biden for 'spreading things that are untrue' in voting rights speech MORE (La.) and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsLaura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 Tucker Carlson extends influence on GOP Jan. 6 panel asks McCarthy to cooperate MORE (N.C.). The Louisiana senator’s home state could stand to lose funding for flood mitigation projects if money from the Army Corps is used.
Those plans were thrown into doubt by Trump’s latest comments. But the president also made it clear the emergency threat is still on the table.
“Congress should do this,” he said. “It they can’t do it, I will declare a national emergency. I have the absolute right to do it.”
Updated: Jan. 12, 2019 at 10:51 a.m.