By Trey Mewes, Mankato Free Press - MANKATO — Though President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats have reached a temporary deal to end the partial federal government shutdown, there's still a political fight coming over border security money.
First District Congressman Jim Hagedorn called on his colleagues across the aisle to work with the president to reach $5.7 billion in funding for Trump's border wall proposal.
"They're going to have a few weeks here to go at it and see if the Democrats can come to the table and help us get the appropriations we need," Hagedorn said Friday.
The agreement between Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress will reopen the government for three weeks before funding runs out Feb. 15. During that time, the Trump administration and Democratic lawmakers will debate just how much money to put toward a wall, steel slab barriers or another type of physical barrier for about 200 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border.
That money can't come soon enough, Hagedorn said. He built much of his campaign across southern Minnesota last year around border security and he supports Trump's agenda when it comes to immigration and the border.
At the same time, the congressman from Blue Earth said Thursday he has heard from dozens of constituents across the district — some who agree with Trump's position, some who urged him to vote with Democrats to reopen the government, and some of the 800,000 federal workers and contractors whose pay has been withheld due to the shutdown.
Hagedorn joined other Minnesota lawmakers Friday in celebrating the end of the shutdown — for now. Yet Democrats blame Trump for the shutdown and its effects on the nation.
"For the last five weeks, hundreds of thousands of workers went without pay, and everything from air safety to medical advancements were undermined," U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, said in a statement. "We’re in the exact same place we were five weeks ago, but our workers, our economy, and our country have seriously suffered. The president needs to stop playing games, end the threats, and allow the country to get back to work."
Hagedorn believes Trump needs to declare a national emergency and allocate money from the Defense Department toward the border if Democrats refuse to agree on funding.
"We're to the point where it's all been laid on the table," he said. "We've tried to do it the right way, and we've been kind of stymied. Border security is national security, and I think the president has a prerogative to declare an emergency if this goes on."
The Trump administration is reportedly working on a draft declaration that could allocate $7 billion toward border security. Trump did not clarify Friday if he would declare a national emergency should talks break down next month but said he would use all powers afforded to him to address border security.
Democrats oppose the measure and any national emergency declaration will likely face legal challenges.