House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rallied against the possibility of President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency. She says Republicans “should have some dismay to the door that they are opening.”
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is expected to declare a national emergency Friday to get money for his promised border wall, setting the stage for a potential court battle and putting him at odds with even some lawmakers from his own party.
The White House announced on Thursday that Trump would declare a national emergency as Congress was preparing to pass a funding bill that provides $1.375 billion for 55 miles of border fencing – far less than the $5.7 billion Trump has been demanding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president is scheduled to speak from the Rose Garden about national security and the southern border at 10 a.m. EST.
“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,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
The Senate passed the funding bill on a 83-16 vote. The House followed a few hours later,voting 300-128 to approve the measure and send it to Trump.
Democrats and some Republican lawmakers blasted Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency – a move that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., labeled “a lawless act” and “a gross abuse of the power of the presidency.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., warned that Trump could be violating the Constitution and setting a bad precedent.
“We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution,” he said.
Declaring an emergency would let Trump sidestep Democratic opposition to more wall funding, but it could draw legal challenges from lawmakers and others who viewed the move as a power grab. Although that could delay construction of his border barriers, an extended legal battle would give Trump a potent political issue to run on in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump’s demand for a border wall – a signature promise of his presidential campaign – was at the center of a budget standoff that triggered a record 35-day government shutdown late last year. The shutdown ended in late January when lawmakers passed a temporary funding bill to buy them time to work out an agreement on border security.
The funding bill approved Thursday was pieced together by a bipartisan group of budget negotiators from the House and the Senate. It would spend $1.375 billion for a barrier along the Texas border and requires the structure be made of previously deployed designs – essentially ruling out concrete but allowing the barrier to made of steel slats.
Trump must sign the bill by midnight Friday or federal funding will lapse, triggering another government shutdown.
Contributing: Eliza Collins, Christal Hayes, Deborah Berry
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