The White House confirmed Thursday that the president will sign a bipartisan spending deal to avoid another government shutdown but will declare the national emergency in an effort to procure funds to build a border wall.
Trump will hold an event in the White House Rose Garden about the border at 10:00 a.m. Friday. He is expected to sign both the funding bill and the paperwork for his executive actions.
The move announced Thursday drew both statements of relief from lawmakers and a threat from Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the emergency declaration.
Pelosi called it an ‘end-run around the will of the people,’ speaking to reporters minutes after news of Trump’s position broke, while warning it could come back to bite Republicans.
‘We will review our options, we’ll be prepared to respond appropriately to it,’ Pelosi said, asked about Trump’s planned emergency declaration.
President Donald Trump has expressed misgivings about a bipartisan deal, but will sign it, the White House said
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi signs a $328 billion spending bill to prevent another government shutdown Thursday
She also brandished the threat a future Democratic president could use the same tactic of Trump moves forward
‘I know the Republicans have some unease about it, no matter what they say. Because if the president can declare an emergency on something that he has created as an emergency, an illusion that he wants to convey, just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people,’ she said.
‘You want to talk about a national emergency? Let’s talk about today, the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America,’ Pelosi said, referencing the one-year anniversary of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
‘That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would. But a Democratic president can do that. [A] Democratic president can declare emergencies as well,’ she threatened.
Within minutes after the White House announced its support, the Senate adopted the legislative package by a vote of 83-16. The House followed suit, approving the deal in a 300-128 vote.
Sen. Mitch McConnell updated colleagues on his conversation with Trump, saying he ‘indicated’ he is ‘prepared to sign’ the budget bill minutes before the White House announced his support
‘The precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans,’ said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
But Pelosi, even while touting the package as the product of compromise, bristled at Trump’s stated move to get around strict funding limits it included, namely $1.4 billion for border fencing.
‘So, the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans. And of course we will respond accordingly when we review our options,’ Pelosi said.
WHERE THE $8 BILLION COMES FROM
A White House official told
$1.375 billion will come from the Homeland Security appropriations bill
$600 million from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture fund
$2.5 billion from the Defense Department’s drug interdiction program
$3.5 billion from the Defense Department’s military construction budget
Pelosi also blasted Trump for ‘making an end run around Congress.
‘The power of the purse, the power to declare war … and of course the responsibility to have oversight.’ Although she said Democrats would ‘review our options,’ and did not commit to filing a lawsuit against the move.
Pelosi said Congress maintains ‘the power of the purse, the power to declare war … and of course the responsibility to have oversight.’
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York blasted the move in even more scathing language. ‘Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act – a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for the wall,’ Schumer told colleagues moments after the deal passed the Senate.
‘It would be another demonstration of President Trump’s naked contempt for the rule of law and congressional authority. Congress just debated this very issue. There was not support for the president’s position on this issue,’ Schumer said, pointing to the legislative history that a court would likely consider.
‘For the president to declare an emergency now would be an unprecedented subversion of Congress’s constitutional prerogative,’ he said.
WHAT HAPPENS IF DEMOCRATS CHALLENGE A TRUMP-DECLARED BORDER ‘EMERGENCY’ IN COURT?
If President Trump declares that a national emergency exists on the U.S.-Mexico border, it’s likely that court challenges will quickly seek to stop him from exercising the powers federal law would give him.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Thursday that ‘the Constitution grants Congress the authority to appropriate federal dollars, so I’m sure such action will be litigated in the courts.’
Congress passed the National Emergencies Act in 1975 in order to force post-Watergate presidents to explain themselves if they claim powers beyond what Congress has authorized.
Trump would have to cite the specific laws he’s relying on for emergency spending power.
The most likely basis is found in Section 2808 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code. It allows presidents to order the Defense Department to ‘undertake military construction projects’ during times of emergency ‘that are necessary to support … use of the armed forces.’
Trump began sending military troops to the southern border last year, tasking them with supporting border patrol units. Among their jobs has been hanging more than 150 miles of razor wire as a barrier to protect the border agents.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who met with Trump in the Oval office on Thursday afternoon, said in a Feb. 4 speech ‘they’re putting up barbed wire. What’s the difference between barbed ware and a steel slat? I’m confident the president has the legal ability to do this.’
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Thursday that ‘it will be challenged in court and is of dubious constitutionality.’
Trump’s opponents will have to find a loophole in Section 2293 of Title 33, which allows presidents to repurpose military ‘civil works’ budgets to build ‘authorized’ projects ‘that are essential to the national defense.’
That law applies in times of war or ‘national emergency.’
The largely civilian Army Corps of Engineers has already spent the past 18 months contracting out the work of building miles of border walls. It’s the Pentagon’s civil-works construction agency
It’s unlikely a federal court would weigh in on whether Trump has the legal authority to use his own discretion in declaring declare a national emergency. The 1975 law leaves that judgment up to the White House.
Every president since Gerald Ford has used it at least once. Barack Obama did it 12 times. Americans are still living under the conditions of 31 of the 58 declared ’emergencies.’ The U.S. Supreme Court has never invalidated one.
But his opponents would likely argue that Section 2808 can’t be used to build permanent walls that go beyond what’s necessary to protect the troops on border deployments.
And lawyers will squabble over whether Section 2293’s reference to ‘national defense’ includes border security in the first place.
A White House official said Thursday that the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which provided for wall construction along the border, is enough to show Congress has ‘authorized’ what Trump might want to fund unconventionally.
The official said the administration is betting that federal judges won’t want to weigh in on what is and is not related to national defense, a concept federal law has never clearly defined.
Trump said on Feb. 1 that while he expects legal challenges, ‘we have very, very strong legal standing to win.’
It would be ‘hard’ for Democrats to stymie him, he claimed, ‘but they tend to go to the Ninth Circuit,’ traditionally America’s most liberal and most often-overturned bank of judges.
‘And when they go to the Ninth Circuit, things happen.’
‘President Trump couldn’t convince Mexico, he couldn’t convince the American people, he couldn’t convince their elected representatives to pay for his ineffective and expensive wall. So now he’s trying an end run around Congress in a desperate attempt to put taxpayers on the hook for it,’ said Schumer.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told fellow senators Thursday that Trump was ‘prepared to sign’ the budget deal, and the White House soon confirmed it with stronger language.
Said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders 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,’ she added.
With the flurry of action Thursday afternoon, the Senate and House voted in sequence on the $328 billion package.
McConnell made his announcement on the Senate floor after signals of indecision from the White House were once again raising fears of a government shutdown after Friday.
Joint statement from Democratic leaders Schumer and Pelosi on possible declaration of ‘national emergency’
‘Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall.
It is yet another demonstration of President Trump’s naked contempt for the rule of law.
This is not an emergency, and the president’s fear-mongering doesn’t make it one.
He couldn’t convince Mexico, the American people or their elected representatives to pay for his ineffective and expensive wall, so now he’s trying an end-run around Congress in a desperate attempt to put taxpayers on the hook for it.
The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities.’
McConnell spoke to Trump Thursday, and told his colleagues the president ‘indicated he’s prepared to sign’ the deal, which was inked Wednesday night.
Declaring a national emergency will allow Trump to repurpose billions of dollars Congress approved last year for other projects at the Pentagon and other agencies. The White House and Democrats have indicated that they expect interest groups to sue, challenging the president’s power to sidestep lawmakers’ power of the purse.
With Washington on edge a day before another shutdown deadline with no clear signal from the White House, McConnell told colleagues: ‘I’ve just had an opportunity to speak with President Trump, and he would, I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated that he’s prepared to sign the bill.’
‘He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. And I’ve indicated to him that I’m going to prepare – I’m 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,’ McConnell said.
A top Democrat immediately blasted the move to declare an emergency for funds Congress would not approve.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland intruded on an NBC live broadcast to say ‘declaring a national emergency when there is no national emergency is not good for a President to do, and frankly I don’t think it’s good for precedent for future Presidents.’
A leading Senate Republican opened Thursday’s session with a prayer that President Trump would have the ‘wisdom’ to sign a bipartisan spending deal – after another day of mixed signals from the White House.
‘Let’s all pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill so the government doesn’t shut down,’ said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, who has been a powerful defender of Trump’s but who also is pushing to make sure Special Counsel Mueller’s report gets shared with Congress.
Grassley’s appeal to a higher authority came hours after a senior Trump advisor said only that Trump was ‘taking a look’ at the legislation, which a bipartisan panel of House and Senate lawmakers agreed to Wednesday night.
Vice President Mike Pence, traveling in Poland, said Trump is ‘not happy’ with the deal – which includes just a quarter of the amount he wanted for a border wall, with funds restricted to existing forms of fencing.
‘I think he’s been very clear that he’s not happy with it. Seeing less than $ 1.4 billion dollars in border wall funding I know is a disappointment to the president, but he’s considering the bill,’ Pence said.
The president himself was circumspect, tweeting: ‘Reviewing the funding bill with my team at the @WhiteHouse!’
Trump’s earlier Twitter effort was even less revealing. It said simply ‘funding bill’, and was an apparent typo.
The public statements came after Trump took actions behind the scenes to try to sell the deal. The New York Times reported he called Fox News hosts Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity to make the case. Hannity had hammered the compromise on his show as it was emerging. Trump made the case that he had been able to extract concessions he couldn’t have gotten without the shutdown. Publicly, Democrats were crowing that they were able to force Trump to sign a deal that did not include funding for his wall.
Negotiators from both parties and chambers reached the deal Wednesday night
FINE PRINT: The final deal limits funds to ‘operationally effective designs’ as of 2017 including ‘steel bollard designs’
The final compromise bill itself expressly restricted funds to existing forms of border barrier.
It limited funds to ‘operationally effective designs deployed as of the date of the [2017 funding law] such as currently deployed steel bollard designs, that prioritize agent safety.’
Internally, senior advisors were urging Trump to take the deal and avoid another shutdown.
Other senior elected Republicans were taking a wait-and-see approach to avoid getting out ahead of the president. Prominent voices on the right came out Thursday to urge Trump not sign onto the deal.
‘This bill must NOT be signed by @realDonaldTrump,’ wrote conservative host Laura Ingraham. She added: ‘This bill is tantamount to an illegal immigration ‘stimulus’ — de facto amnesty to any ‘sponsor,’ family member or ‘potential sponsor’ of an unaccompanied minor. #ChainMigrationAmnesty,’ and in another swipe, wrote: ‘This 1,169 page monstrosity will green light more ‘family units’ crossing illegally—without a doubt.’
‘Let’s all pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill so the government doesn’t shut down,’ said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa
The president said only he was ‘reviewing’ the bill
TAKE ONE: Trump deleted his initial tweet
On Thursday morning, the White House had yet to signal Trump was certain to sign the deal, after high-profile conservative commentators balked at the arrangement, which gives the president far less than the $5.7 billion he demanded for a border wall.
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters Thursday Trump was still ‘looking at’ the compromise that finally reached written form late Wednesday.
‘He’s looking at it. I think it came in very late last night. He’s taking a look at that, you’ll hear more about it when he’s ready,’ Kudlow said.
Lawmakers released the text of the 1,159-page
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said he is ‘sure’ the deal will pass
‘I think he’s been very clear that he’s not happy with it,’ Vice President Mike Pence said of Trump
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters Thursday Trump was still ‘looking at’ the compromise that finally reached written form late Wednesday
The deal restricts fencing to existing types already in use
Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama tweeted Wednesday that Trump ‘was in good spirits,’ and once again called the bill a ‘down-payment’ on the wall. Trump has indicated he will use other methods to procure wall funds.
Following the 35-day shutdown, Trump allowed a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both parties to negotiate a compromise. Pulling away from it could once again tag Trump with producing a shutdown.
The agreement provides $1.4 billion for border fencing, but not the $5.7 Trump demanded for wall construction. Trump has been tweaking his rhetoric as the deal approached. His Tuesday rally at the Texas border city of El Paso had banners that said ‘finish the wall,’ and Trump says repeatedly that it is already being built.
Trump said Wednesday he is taking a ‘very serious’ look at a bipartisan compromise deal to give him just a quarter of the $5.7 billion he wants for a border wall – following reports sourced to his advisors that he is preparing to sign it.
Government funding legislation is once again hinging on President Trump’s support for a border wall
‘We haven’t gotten it yet,’ Trump said, in reference to the bipartisan compromise that has yet to be turned into final bill language. ‘We’ll take a very serious look at it,’ Trump added during a meeting with the president of Colombia.
He said he would look for ‘landmines’ surreptitiously buried in the legislation negotiated by Republicans and Democrats from both chambers of Congress, but would not formally commit to signing it.
There was a last minute standoff over back-pay for federal contractors who lost millions during the shutdown that began in December.
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said he was told the president would not back the effort.
Senate Appropriations chair Richard Shelby of Alabama says he told Trump the wall funding was a ‘down payment’
A bipartisan compromise would provide $1.37 billion for new border fencing
‘We’ll be looking for landmines, because you could have that,’ Trump said, indicating his advisors would be scrubbing legislation to fund the government in search of any surprises. Trump said he would take a ‘very serious’ look at bipartisan legislation to fund the government
‘I’ve been told the president won’t sign that,’ Blunt said Wednesday, adding ‘I guess federal contractors are different in his view than federal employees.’ Negotiators left the proposal out of the final compromise.
‘I’m sure it’s going to pass. I don’t know of any drama,’ said House Democrats’ chief vote-counter, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., told the Associated Press.
By accepting the compromise, Trump avoided yet another shutdown after the 35-day partial federal shutdown that began in December, battering Trump and Republicans in public opinion polls.
President Donald Trump hasn’t given his final signal that he will sign a bipartisan compromise with $1.37 billion for border fencing, after a lengthy shutdown where he was demanding $5.7 billion for wall construction, though he is expected to do so