WASHINGTON – The government has been partially shut down for 18 days and that is unlikely to change in the near future, two former congressmen predicted in interviews with TMN on Tuesday.
“I think that this probably stretches out for another couple of weeks, past the State of the Union (Jan 29.). That’s what my gut tells me,” said Ryan Costello, a Republican who represented Pennsylvania’s 6th district from 2015 to January 2019.
“It’s going to still be a while before this is solved,” said Jason Altmire, a Democrat who represented Pennsylvania’s 4th district from 2007-13.
The shutdown came about as a result of a feud between President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats over his request for $5.6 billion to build a border wall.
Democrats oppose the wall and have instead offered $1.3 billion for border security.
Trump has said he is willing to allow the shutdown to continue until an agreement on the wall is reached. The president also has said he has not ruled out the possibility of declaring a national emergency in order to build the wall.
Trump is scheduled to speak to the nation about border security in a televised address at 9 p.m. EST tonight.
Both Costello and Altmire were asked if Trump will use the speech to either make his case for the wall or a declare a national emergency.
“I believe it will be the latter with the suggestion that he will do the former if he doesn’t get his way in the next week or so,” Costello said.
“If he feels like he can get around the issue by doing that (declaring a national emergency) he may do it,” Altmire said.