08:30 GMT +319 March 2019
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    The border wall separating the United States and Mexico is pictured in San Ysidro, California.

    Trump Mulls Declaring National Emergency Hours Before Address to Nation - Pence

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - President Donald Trump ahead of his address to the nation is still considering the option of declaring a national emergency to fund a wall on the US border with Mexico, Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview.

    "The president was asked whether it [the national emergency option] is something he was considering, and he said it is something we are looking at…. The fact is the Congress should do its job and come to the table", Pence told CBS News.

    Since the stalemate over funding is ongoing, Trump had no other choice but to take his case directly to American people in a speech planned for later in the day, the vice president said, as suspense continues to build over the possible big announcement.

    Pence has also stated that Trump's address would lay out the facts of what the administration has called a humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border. The vice president stressed that there is indeed a crisis, adding that it must be taken care of before the administration can move onto negotiating other parts of the US national security funding.

    US Shutdown Can Be Solved 'In Matter of Hours'

    "We can resolve this [the shutdown] in a matter of hours if the Democrats will come to the table and start negotiating in good faith", Pence told CBS morning news.

    Democratic leaders have said that they are open to reaching a solution in the funding dispute.

    The vice president said administration officials spent the entire weekend negotiating with Democrats. During the talks, Trump reaffirmed his plans to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico and listened to Democrats' funding requests related to US national security, Pence said.

    He noted that the proposal drafted afterwards by the White House included what the other side had asked for, but said Democrats were not willing to negotiate while the government remains closed.

    READ MORE: Trump's Administration Bodes ‘Fascist Government' as Shutdown Enters Day 17

    The statements followed a 7 January interview when Pence told reporters that the White House was seeking a legal basis to justify a declaration of a national emergency, but in the interview, he said that no decision had been made as of 8 January morning.

    The government shutdown entered day 17 on 8 January after a series of discussions between the Trump administration officials and Democrats failed to yield an agreement on funding for the wall. Trump is asking for over $5 billion for the fence, despite he has repeatedly promised that the cost of building the wall would be taken care of by Mexico. Democrats have reminded the president about his pledge and, therefore, are willing to give him only $2 billion for the border security funding.

    Related:

    DHS to Ask for More Troops on US-Mexico Border Amid Wall Funding Impasse
    Trump Doubles Down on Claim Mexico Paying for Border Wall Through Trade Deal
    Trump: Military to Build Wall on Mexico Border if Dems Don't Vote to Secure US
    US Senators Roll Out Bill to Fully Fund Border Wall With Mexico
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    wall, border, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Mexico, United States
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