Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that President Donald Trump plans to sign new legislation aimed at keeping the government open past Friday’s current stopgap budget funding deadline and also declare a national emergency on the southwestern border so he can access funding for a border wall.
“He’s prepared to sign the bill, he will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time,” McConnell said after the White House announced it would be examining the new spending bill for “landmines.”
According to reports, the legislation contains less than $1.4 billion for physical border barriers, and with many conditions attached.
Few expected the president to agree to that without making a decision to access border wall funding in another manner — via a national emergency.
If Trump follows through, lawmakers and the White House would dodge their second partial shutdown since December, sparing about 800,000 federal workers from more financial pain. But the emergency declaration would quickly spark lawsuits challenging the president’s authority, creating yet another fight over his key campaign promise.
The emergency declaration would allow Trump to redirect funds from other parts of the government to the project without congressional approval. The move could in part assuage conservative critics who argued the president should not accept the latest congressional plan, which denied him the funding he demanded for the border barrier. He had threatened the action for weeks, splitting the GOP caucus as some Republicans argued it would set a dangerous precedent.
McConnell said he “indicated to [Trump] that I am going to support the national emergency declaration.”
Congressional Democrats panned the president’s decision to use a national emergency declaration to secure border wall funding. They claim that no emergency exists, but the law doesn’t leave the decision in Congress’ hands.
“I think declaring a national emergency where this is no national emergency is not good for the president to do and is not good as a precedent,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told MSNBC shortly after McConnell spoke.
As we reported, however, there is clearly a national emergency both at the border and a security emergency brewing in Mexico.
An analysis published earlier this month by a noted national security expert says that Mexico is a narco-state that is close to failing. Were the government actually fail, the current crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border would pale in comparison to one that would quickly develop as millions of Mexican citizens would likely attempt to flee to collapse and ensuing violence.
As for the border wall, POTUS said during a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, “The bottom line is on the wall we’re building the wall and we’re using other methods other than this and in addition to this.”
Never miss a story! Sign up for our daily email newsletter — Click here!