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Democrats Demand Airtime To Respond To Trump's Address

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Suggesting President Donald Trump's national address Tuesday night will be "full of malice and misinformation," Democratic leaders have demanded equal airtime to respond to the president's remarks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., released a joint statement after the major broadcast and cable news networks agreed to air Trump's address.

"Now that the television networks have decided to air the President's address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime," Pelosi and Schumer said.

The demand from Pelosi and Schumer comes after the networks agreed to Trump's request for airtime despite concerns his remarks may be overtly political and include false or misleading claims about immigration.

In a post on Twitter on Monday, Trump said he will address the nation on the "Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border."

Trump has recently suggested he could bypass Congress and obtain funding for his controversial border wall by declaring the situation on the border a national emergency, leading to speculation he could announce the move in his address.

Vice President Mike Pence noted in an interview with NBC News that Trump is "considering" declaring a national emergency but would not say whether the president would announce the decision tonight.

Pence said he expects Trump to "explain to the American people that we have a humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border," adding, "He will tell the American people why Congress should act."

The address from Trump comes as the partial government shutdown is in its third week due to an impasse over funding for the border wall.

Pelosi and Schumer said Democrats and an increasing number of Republicans have repeatedly urged Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., to re-open the government while Congress debates the wall.

"Unfortunately, President Trump keeps rejecting the bipartisan House-passed bills, which have already received strong bipartisan support in the Senate, to re-open the government," Pelosi and Schumer said.

The Democratic leaders added, "Instead, he is still demanding that American taxpayers pay at least $5.7 billion for his wall, which can't pass either chamber of Congress and of course Mexico is not paying for."

House Democrats have passed bills funding eight departments closed by the shutdown for the rest of the fiscal year and funding the Department of Homeland Security through February 8th to give lawmakers more time to negotiate over the issue of funding for the wall.

However, the White House has threatened to veto the bills and McConnell has repeatedly stated the Senate will not vote on legislation that does not have the support of the president.

(Photo: American Federation of Government Employees)

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