Trump declares national emergency to fund the wall
President Trump is expected to announce that he will use executive action to draw upon a variety of administration funding sources to help finance construction of his border wall, a White House official said.
The executive action is expected to include a national emergency declaration.
The official confirmed the President is set to announce the total amount to be in the range of $8 billion.
The official did not specify exactly where all of that money will come from and whether the executive action would withstand a court challenge, which could come from Democrats.
The House of Representatives just approved a spending deal to avert a government shutdown.
The final vote was 300 to 128. The Senate vote, which took place earlier in the day, was 83 to 16.
The legislation will now go to the White House for President Trump's signature. He's expected to the sign the bill tomorrow.
Once the bill is signed into law, the entire federal government will be funded through the end of September.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to hold an enrollment ceremony after the vote.
The House will now debate the funding bill for an hour before moving on to the final vote.
After the debate is over, the House will vote on the final measure.
One thing to note: This may happen sooner if ether party decides to give back time.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a news conference at 9:30 p.m. ET following the final vote.
President Trump intends to declare a national emergency -- a move that could allow the administration to circumvent Congress and unlock money to build his signature border wall, the White House said today.
A national emergency allows Trump to unlock certain funds provided under statutes previously passed by Congress. A draft proclamation reviewed by CNN last month cited Title 10 of the US Code, which paves the way for Trump to dip into a stash of Pentagon funds that are earmarked but have no signed contracts for spending that money.
That would give the President authority to pull from military construction funds and civil works projects, like infrastructure repair projects.
Trump has to notify Congress about where he decides to pull money from, but he does not need approval from Congress, according to congressional aides.
For Trump to invoke Section 2808, specifically, the emergency would require the use of the armed forces.
In that event, the "Secretary of Defense, without regard to any other provision of law, may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces."
When Majority Leader Mitch McConnell closed up the Senate, he was asked by reporters about his call with President Trump today.
Here's how he responded:
“We talked about the bill. I urged him to sign it. That was my focus.”
A White House official said the "details are done" on President Trump's national security declaration for border security.
Those details are expected to be announced following the House vote on the spending deal, the official said.
"Don't want to get ahead of the House," the official said.
Senior Republican senators raised various doubts about the use of a national emergency for a border wall. Others GOP lawmakers said they wanted to wait to see exactly what President Trump will declare, skeptical he will do more than use existing executive authority.
This is what they're saying:
- Texas Sen. John Cornyn: “I’ve been asking if the President is going to (be) using existing authority to reprogram money or if it will be something different. I’ve expressed my concern about declaring an emergency just in terms of its precedential impact but also the practical difficulties if there is a lawsuit and the money gets tied up. It’s not a very practical solution to the problem.”
- Maine Sen. Susan Collins: "I think it’s a mistake. The National Emergencies Act was contemplated to apply to natural disasters or catastrophic events such as the attacks on our country on 9/11. For the President to use it to repurpose billions of dollars that Congress has appropriated for other purposes that has previously signed into law, strikes me as undermining the appropriations process, the will of Congress and being of dubious constitutionality.”
- Arkansas Sen. John Boozman: “There are a number of different statutes he can use to do that. Some are more encompassing than others. I very much support the resources we need to protect the border. I’d like to see a narrow statute used. We’ll have to see. I think that’s what everyone is concerned about, exactly how he is going to approach that…. I think the broader it is then you do get concerned about others using the same. That becomes the precedent.”
- West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito: “I’m supportive of that because I think the issues at the border are important enough to move in that directions. But we will have to see what he actually declares, what mechanism he uses. I don’t think that’s been determined.”
- Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe: Asked if supports a national emergency, he said, “I do if that’s what it takes to do it. I just don’t want it coming out of defense…. But what I want doesn’t seem to make that much difference.”
- Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt: “I’m going to wait and see exactly how he does it and exactly what he does. We’ll see what the White House definition of an emergency is before I’m going to have a lot more to say.”
- Utah Sen. Mitt Romney: “It’s too early for me to know what he’s going to do statutorily. Will take a look at what he does. Review it thoroughly and decide at that point.”
Here's a look at what GOP senators said in the past:
Leaving the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell side-stepped questions on his reservations about President Trump’s plans to declare a national emergency, and whether Republicans will allow this to go forward.
"What I believe is we got a presidential signature on a bill that funds the rest of the government and deals with the border barriers," McConnell said.
McConnell didn't answer questions about the President's action and what it might mean for the future.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement on the possibility of President Trump issuing a national emergency on the border wall, calling the move a "lawless act."
"This is not an emergency, and the President’s fear-mongering doesn’t make it one," the Democratic leaders said.
Read the full statement:
“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 fearmongering 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.”