Trump to Sign Border Deal, Declare National Emergency

Alexander Bolton, The Hill, February 14, 2019

President Trump will declare a national emergency to fund his demand to build a border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on the Senate floor Thursday.

“I had an opportunity to speak with President Trump and he, I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated he’s prepared to sign the bill. He also [will] be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. I indicated I’m going to support the national emergency declaration,” McConnell announced shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday.

“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,” Sanders said.

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McConnell, who reportedly advised Trump not to declare a national emergency, said he will support the president’s action.

The Senate majority leader said the president will also sign a congressional deal that provides $1.375 billion in funding for border barriers.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that McConnell privately cautioned Trump not to use national emergency power to fund the wall because it would face opposition from Republicans.

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Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D) signaled immediately that Democrats will fight Trump.

“There is word the president will declare a national emergency. I hope he won’t. That would be a very wrong thing to do,” he said, adding that he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will issue a more formal response “in short order.”

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Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who spoke to Trump on Wednesday evening, said he supports the national emergency action.

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Senate Republicans have warned for weeks, however, that an emergency declaration will be subject to a lengthy legal battle and likely will be blocked by a federal judge until adjudicated by an appellate or the Supreme Court.

The emergency declaration is subject to a resolution of disapproval, which must pass both chambers and receive Trump’s signature.

House Democrats, who control the lower chamber, are expected to pass the resolution and Schumer can force a vote on the Senate floor because it is privileged.

McConnell has expressed uncertainty over whether he can stop a disapproval resolution from gaining a simple majority to advance to the president’s desk but he feels confident he can muster 34 votes to sustain a presidential veto.

“I think there are different opinions about it, and if he goes that route, we’ll just hash it out McConnell told reporters on Feb. 5 when asked about the possibility.

“The president could win anyway by vetoing the bill and then trying to get enough votes to sustain it, so [he] may ultimately be able to prevail on the national emergency alternative,” he added.

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Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday {snip} “We’ll take as much money as you can give us and then we’ll go off and find the money someplace else, legally, in order to secure that Southern [border] but this is going to get built with or without Congress,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

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Senate Republicans say whether or not they back the national emergency declaration will depend on how it’s structured.

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Republicans on the Armed Services Committee are raising concerns that the emergency money will likely be pulled away from military construction projects.

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Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Trump could build more support for a national emergency declaration if he releases a letter assuring lawmakers that money will not be taken from military construction projects.

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