When Will the Government Shutdown End? Trump Looks to Escalate Stalemate as Both Sides Dig In

President Donald Trump appears ready to up the ante in the current government shutdown stalemate, threatening to use his presidential powers to secure money for his border wall.

Trump warned again on Sunday, as the government shutdown entered its 16th day, that he could declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and use military funding to get his wall built.

Read more: Trump's government shutdown could hit poorest Americans as food stamps face cuts

"I may declare a national emergency depending on what happens over the next two days," Trump told reporters on Sunday as he departed the White House for Camp David.

The threat came as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepared to put pressure on the GOP this week with a series of bills aimed at reopening agencies affected by the shutdown.

Pelosi has stood by Democrats' refusal to pass a spending bill that would give Trump $5.6 billion in funding to build his border wall, which the new House speaker condemned as an "immorality."

Can a 'National Emergency' Deliver Wall Funding?

While Trump has threatened to use his presidential powers to get his border wall funding, it is not clear whether he could actually do that.

On Sunday, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California, dismissed the potential plan as a "nonstarter."

"If Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multi-billion dollar wall on the border. So that's a nonstarter," Schiff said, speaking on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday.

Indeed, while the 1976 National Emergencies Act does provide presidents with the power to make unilateral decisions in moments of crisis, it also allows for congressional checks. If Trump did attempt to declare a national crisis to get his wall funding, the move would almost certainly be met with legal challenges from Democrats and legal groups.

Shutdown Could Go on for a 'Long Time'

The president has said that the current government shutdown could go on for "a long time," even years.

Speaking to reporters as he boarded Marine One on Sunday, the U.S. leader said: "Everybody's playing games, but I'll tell you this, I think the Democrats want to make a deal.

"This shutdown could end tomorrow or it could also go on for a long time," he said.

The U.S. leader dismissed concerns over government workers going unpaid during the shutdown, claiming that many supported his border wall bid.

"They will make an adjustment because they want to see the border taken care of," the U.S. leader said, without evidence.

The president said he believed that his border wall would "pay for itself many times during the course of the year," though he did not expand on how.

"Most importantly, it's about safety, it's about security for our country," Trump said. "You think I like doing this? I don't like doing this, but we have no choice, we have to have it."

President Donald Trump speaks to the media upon his return to the White House after a day trip to Camp David on January 6. The U.S. leader has threatened to declare a national emergency to secure funding for his border wall. Chris Kleponis/Getty

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