Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that President Donald Trump will sign a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown and is declaring a national emergency to secure the funds needed to build the border wall.
“He’s prepared to sign the bill, he will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time,” McConnell said. “And, I’ve indicated to him that I am going to support the national emergency declaration. So, for all of my colleagues: the president will sign the bill. We’ll be voting on it shortly. And, with that, I ask the chair to lay before the Senate the conference report to accompany House Joint Resolution 31.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement: “President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action – including a national emergency – to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border. The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”
“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,” CNBC reported. “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,” CNBC added. “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.”
“Outlined in the National Emergencies Act of 1976, the president has the authority to declare emergencies, thus unlocking certain provisions, when the country is ‘threatened by crisis, exigency, or emergency circumstances’ other than wars or natural disasters, a 2007 report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) explains,” Fox News reported. “Some of those provisions include the ability to seize commodities or property; control production, transportation and communication; institute martial law or restrict travel, according to the report.”
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 U.S. on the southern border.
“It’s important to note that when President declares this emergency, first of all, it’s not an emergency,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “The precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.”
Last month, Trump highlighted words from Rep. Adam Schiff about Trump’s ability to use a national emergency to suggest that he has the ability to use it in this circumstance.
“Congressman Adam Smith, the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, just stated, ‘Yes, there is a provision in law that says a president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times,'” Trump tweeted. “No doubt, but let’s get our deal done in Congress!”