Published: Fri, February 15, 2019
Health Care | By Terrence Lopez

Donald Trump to sign border bill, declare emergency to fund wall

Donald Trump to sign border bill, declare emergency to fund wall

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Donald Trump has indicated he's prepared to sign the government funding bill and issue a national emergency on the border.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives accused Mr. Trump of "making an end-run around Congress" and said launching a court challenge was "an option" she is reviewing.

"He's prepared to sign the bill, he will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time", McConnell said. The legislation would reportedly provide more than $300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and some other USA agencies through 30 September, the end of the current fiscal year.

Funding for those agencies was due to expire on Friday, which would trigger another partial federal shutdown on Saturday morning if Trump unexpectedly refuses to sign the bill.

In denying him that money, Congress preventd Mr Trump from carrying out one of his key 2016 campaign pledges. The bill, which still needs to pass both legislative chambers, provides $1.383 billion for barriers at the USA border with Mexico.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, said after the bill was introduced late Wednesday that the plan would allow Trump to construct only existing styles of border barriers. Lindsey Graham, a onetime Trump critic-turned-loyal ally, told reporters Trump was "certainly inclined to sign it" and "march toward filling in gaps" by using executive action to divert other budget funds into wall-building. Now comes the mini-bombshell that the president plans to follow through with his national emergency - a ploy McConnell had advised him against doing. The president insists any eminent domain cases, without presenting evidence, would move swiftly.

Earlier in the wall fight with Congress, some of Trump's fellow Republicans had warned him that declaring a national emergency could set a risky precedent, opening the door for a future Democratic president to circumvent Congress and declare emergencies on perhaps climate change or healthcare insurance.

As an example, the aides said there is funding for a medical facility at a US base in Germany that has been partially built.

It isn't clear how Pelosi thinks a president could use defense funding to take away the gun rights of the American people, but she made the proposal to intimidate Republicans nonetheless.

Democrats immediately sought to discredit Trump calling for a national emergency by suggesting that there is no "emergency" on the border, despite the hundreds of thousands of people who are apprehended every year illegally trying to enter the US on the southern border.

Trump wants to keep a campaign promise to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer accused Trump of a "gross abuse of the power of the presidency". The shutdown ground much of the federal government's work to a halt and hamstrung many routine USA diplomatic efforts worldwide.

"It's important to note that when the president declares this emergency, first of all, it's not an emergency", Pelosi said.

National emergencies have been declared 58 times since the laws were reformed in 1976, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, but none of those occasions was over spending which Congress would not grant.

The move would put Republicans in a bind by effectively forcing them to back an unpopular policy that could hurt them at the ballot box or oppose a president from their own party.

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