Top Republican urges Trump to temporarily reopen government

A senior US Republican has urged President Donald Trump to temporarily reopen parts of the government shut down for more than three weeks.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to Mr Trump, said a limited re-opening of a few weeks would allow talks to resume between Republicans and Democrats.

The partial government shutdown has now become the longest in US history.

It has left hundreds of thousands of public workers unpaid and government offices closed.

President Trump is refusing to approve a budget unless it includes $5.7bn (£4.5bn) for a wall along the Mexican border – a key campaign pledge, which the president said that Mexico would pay for.

Democrats have rejected his request for funding to build it and say they will not negotiate further until the government is reopened.

Mr Trump has raised the stakes by threatening to declare a national emergency and circumvent Congress and get the money he wants.

Mr Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he had urged the president on Sunday to temporarily reopen government to get negotiations started again.

He said if talks still failed to agree the funding, the White House could then declare a national emergency.

“Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we are almost there, I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug (to) see if we can get a deal,” Mr Graham told Fox News Sunday.

He said Mr Trump had told him: “Let’s make a deal, then open up the government.”