At a roundtable discussion at the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump told reporters that he will issue a national emergency declaration to build a wall along America's southern border if Congress does not approve funding for the wall.
Trump conceded at the meeting a decision to issue a national emergency would come with legal challenges. Trump told reporters he is prepared to take such a declaration to the Supreme Court if he has to.
Meanwhile, both the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, and the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, have adjourned for the weekend, ensuring the current government shutdown will extend to next week. By tomorrow, the shutdown will mark the longest such shutdown in US history.
But Trump stated that his preference is to go through Congress for the $5.7 billion in funding rather than declare an emergency.
"It is the easy way out," Trump said. "Congress should do this. It is a 15-minute meeting. If at some point they just can't do it - this is a 15-minute meeting - if they can't do it, I will declare a national emergency."
The money under such an emergency would have to come from other projects congress has approved, such as emergency relief funding earmarked for disaster recovery, or yet to be completed projects at military facilities.
Democratic leaders have said they remain opposed to both a national emergency and funding a border wall.