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‘Broken Border’ More Dangerous Than ‘Government Shutdown’ : Donald Trump

The Post-ABC poll pegged the blame on Trump and Republicans at 53 percent to 29 percent on Democrats.

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A migrant climbs the border fence before jumping into the U.S. in San Diego, California, from Tijuana, Mexico, Dec. 27, 2018. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump contended Sunday that the damage from the country’s “badly broken border” with Mexico is “far greater” than the effects of the longest-ever partial government shutdown, now in its 23rd day.

“The building of the Wall on the Southern Border will bring down the crime rate throughout the entire Country!” Trump claimed on Twitter.

About 800,000 federal workers missed their first paychecks on Friday in the closures that have shuttered about a quarter of U.S. government operations.

The dispute centers on Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion to build a barrier along the 3,200-kilometer border with Mexico to thwart illegal immigration.

There was no movement toward a settlement, with Congress not meeting again till Monday.

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President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House as he walks from Marine One, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Washington. VOA

“I’m in the White House, waiting,” Trump said. “The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking!”

Trump was ridiculing about 30 opposition Democratic lawmakers who flew to the sun-drenched Caribbean island territory of Puerto Rico for a charity performance of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.”

Trump most recently has blamed Democrats for the government shutdown, but before it started Dec. 22, he said he said he would be “proud” to “own” it.

Numerous government services have been curtailed, while some museums and parks have been closed during the shutdown. The 800,000 federal civil servants who went without normal pay last week have been furloughed or ordered to work without pay, although they will be paid retroactively when the stalemate over Trump’s border wall plan is resolved.

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The prototypes for U.S. President Donald Trump’s border wall are seen behind the border fence between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 7, 2019. VOA

Trump was asked late Saturday by Fox News talk show host Jeanine Pirro why he has not declared a national emergency to build the wall without congressional approval as he signaled last week he was ready to do. But Trump said he wants to give Congress a chance to negotiate a deal.

“I want to give them a chance to see if they can act responsibly,” Trump said.

Trump walked out of a White House meeting last week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, when they refused to approve a border wall, even if he reopened the government and negotiated over border security for the next 30 days. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in new border security funding, but none specifically for a wall.

Trump contended, “I’m ready, willing and able to get a deal done…. This country wants to have protection at the border. Many of our crimes, much — MS-13 comes through the border, drugs, a big proportion of the drugs from, you know, that we have from this country — in this country come through the border.”

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Visitors take their pictures at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week. VOA

New polls on wall, shutdown

Two new polls, by The Washington Post and ABC News, along with one from CNN, showed American voters blame Trump and Republicans more than Democrats for the partial government shutdown and oppose construction of the wall.

The Post-ABC poll said a slight majority (54 percent) opposes construction of the wall, with 42 percent favoring it. CNN’s poll said the split against was 56-39.

Also Read: Trump Denies Allegations Suggesting He Is Beholden to Putin

CNN said the public generally blames Trump for the shutdown, with 55 percent saying that he is more responsible to 32 percent for Democrats, with 9 percent saying both are responsible. The Post-ABC poll pegged the blame on Trump and Republicans at 53 percent to 29 percent on Democrats. (VOA)

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Trump Administration to Revoke California’s Authority to Set Auto Mileage Standards

The Trump administration is poised to revoke California's authority to set auto mileage standards, asserting

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FILE - Automobile traffic flows over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. California's long struggles with smog mean the state has been setting its own mileage standards since before the 1970 Clean Air Act was written. VOA

The Trump administration is poised to revoke California’s authority to set auto mileage standards, asserting that only the federal government has the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy.

Conservative and free-market groups have been asked to attend a formal announcement of the rollback set for Wednesday afternoon at Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington.

Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said Tuesday that her group was among those invited to the event featuring EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

The move comes after the Justice Department recently opened an antitrust investigation into a deal between California and four automakers for tougher pollution and related mileage requirements than those sought by President Donald Trump. Trump also has sought to relax Obama-era federal mileage standards nationwide, weakening a key effort by his Democratic predecessor to slow climate change.

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler speaks at a news conference in Washington, Sept. 12, 2019. VOA

Top California officials and environmental groups pledged legal action to stop the rollback.

The White House declined to comment Tuesday, referring questions to EPA. EPA’s press office did not respond to a phone message and email seeking comment.

But EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told the National Automobile Dealers Association on Tuesday that the Trump administration would move “in the very near future” to take steps toward establishing one nationwide set of fuel-economy standards.

“We embrace federalism and the role of the states, but federalism does not mean that one state can dictate standards for the nation,” he said, adding that higher fuel economy standards would hurt consumers by increasing the average sticker price of new cars and requiring automakers to produce more electric vehicles.

Also Read- Lack of Sleep Alters Fat Metabolism, Says Study

Word of the pending announcement came as Trump traveled to California on Tuesday for an overnight trip that includes GOP fundraising events near San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

California’s authority to set its own, tougher emissions standards goes back to a waiver issued by Congress during passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970. The state has long pushed automakers to adopt more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles that emit less pollution. A dozen states and the District of Columbia also follow California’s fuel economy standards.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday that the Trump administration’s action will hurt both U.S. automakers and American families. He said California would fight the administration in federal court.

“You have no basis and no authority to pull this waiver,” Becerra, a Democrat, said in a statement, referring to Trump. “We’re ready to fight for a future that you seem unable to comprehend.”

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FILE – California Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses a news conference in Sacramento, July 23, 2019. VOA

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the White House “has abdicated its responsibility to the rest of the world on cutting emissions and fighting global warming.”

“California won’t ever wait for permission from Washington to protect the health and safety of children and families,” said Newsom, a Democrat.

The deal struck in July between California and four of the world’s largest automakers — Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen — bypassed the Trump administration’s plan to freeze emissions and fuel economy standards adopted under Obama at 2021 levels.

The four automakers agreed with California to reduce emissions by 3.7% per year starting with the 2022 model year, through 2026. That compares with 4.7% yearly reductions through 2025 under the Obama standards. Emissions standards are closely linked with fuel economy requirements because vehicles pollute less if they burn fewer gallons of fuel.

Also Read- Festival Sales by Amazon, Flipkart Violating FDI Norms

The U.S. transportation sector is the nation’s biggest single source of planet-warming greenhouse gasses.

Wheeler said Tuesday: “California will be able to keep in place and enforce programs to address smog and other forms of air pollution caused by motor vehicles.” But fuel economy has been one of the key regulatory tools the state has used to reduce harmful emissions.

Environmentalists condemned the Trump administration’s expected announcement, which comes as gasoline prices have crept higher following a weekend drone attack that hobbled Saudi Arabian oil output.

“Everyone wins when we adopt strong clean car standards as our public policy,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. “Strong clean car standards give us healthier air to breathe, help protect us from the urgent threat of climate change and save Americans hundreds of dollars a year in gas expenses.” (VOA)