President Donald Trump said yesterday he would not declare a national emergency "right now" to end a standoff over border security that has idled large swaths of the USA government, all but guaranteeing that he will preside over the longest shutdown in us history.
"Sarah St. Vincent, a surveillance researcher at Human Rights Watch, wrote on Twitter that "'more surveillance' has become the default answer to far too many hard policy questions".
According to the Associated Press, senior White House aide Jared Kushner is among those who have urged caution to Mr Trump on the issue. But some say Trump has no other choice as the partial government shutdown stretches into its 22nd day on Saturday, making it the longest in history.
At this point, most Americans say they are not feeling the effects of the shutdown.
On Sunday, he said he wants the Democrats to come back to the negotiating table.
Trump rode hard his campaign promise to build a "big, lovely wall" to halt illegal immigration and stanch the flow of narcotics from Mexico, Central and South America.
As a result, 800,000 federal employees - including FBI agents, air traffic controllers and museum staff - received no pay cheques last Friday.
The House and Senate adjourned for the weekend, with lawmakers scattering to their states and districts before snow blankets the nation's capital. Party leaders say they won't agree to fund any kind of wall or barrier between the USA and Mexico beyond what's already in place, and Trump insists he won't agree to reopen the government until the wall is funded.
"I do think if we reopen the government, if the president ends this shutdown crisis, we have folks who can negotiate a responsible, modern investment in technology that will actually make us safer", Coons said.
Mr Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency, which would allow him to bypass Congress and build the wall. "I'm not going to blame you for it".
"If the president was a private citizen, if he was back at the Trump Corporation, he'd be looking at what's going on in Washington and scratching his head".
Democrats, who call a wall an ineffective, outdated answer to a complex problem, have passed several bills in the House of Representatives to reopen the government without funding for Trump's barrier.
"If they can't do it.I will declare a national emergency". Instead, McConnell last week vowed to stand with Trump in the wall debate, after the president met with all Senate Republicans and pleaded for party unity behind his wall quest.
"I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written, and if you read the article you'll see that they found absolutely nothing".
For now, there is still no end in sight to the current shutdown, which has impacted roughly a quarter of the federal government and hundreds of thousands of federal workers. Democrats voted in the past for border security and should again, he said. "Shame on the White House", he told the crowd.
Gingrich lamented the polarization that far trumps that of when he was House Speaker during former President Bill Clinton's administration.