Trump Will Sign Border Bill, Declare National Emergency

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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President Donald Trump will sign a bipartisan congressional bill that provides limited border wall funding and declare a national emergency at the southern border, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders respectively said Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve just had an opportunity to speak with President Trump and I would say to all my colleagues he’s prepared to sign the bill … he will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time,” McConnell declared on the Senate floor. McConnell added that he will support the reportedly imminent national emergency declaration by the president.

The nearly 1,200-page bill was released Wednesday in the midnight hours and will be voted on Thursday by the House of Representatives. The bill is the result of a conference committee chaired by Democrats and Republicans with a mandate to deliver funding for Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S. southern border and avoid another partial government shutdown.

“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 Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”

A man stretches on the Mexico side of the border wall near San Diego, California, U.S., June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

A man stretches on the Mexico side of the border wall near San Diego, California, U.S., June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

The bill provides $1.375 billion in funding for Trump’s proposed barrier and funding for approximately 40,000 detention beds for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Trump was originally seeking $5.7 billion in funding for the proposed wall and has said he is “not happy” with the joint solution. (RELATED: Raid Leads To More Than 100 ICE Arrests In New York)

Trump’s action is not unexpected. In a speech on re-opening the U.S. government in late January, he said he would allow for a 3-week negotiation period and that if an unsatisfactory deal was reached, he would declare a national emergency. The declaration will allow him to tap funding within the Department of Defense under his authority as commander in chief.

McConnell’s speech indicates Trump will make up the shortfall of funding that was delivered by Congress by declaring a national emergency. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney indicated Sunday on Fox News that other avenues of funding are available outside of Congress.

“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 barrier, but this is going to get built with or without Congress,” Mulvaney said. “There are certain funds of money that he can get to without declaring a national emergency and other funds that he can only get to after declaring a national emergency.”