McConnell: Trump Will Sign Spending Bill -- and Declare National Emergency

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Prof. Novkov said it's most likely that a challenge would therefore look at the specific ways in which Mr. Trump uses his authority to get the wall built - classifying the wall as military construction, for instance - and whether these violate the constitutional separation of powers between the President and Congress.

"And he - I would say to all my colleagues that he has indicated he's prepared to sign the bill". Mr. McConnell said he will support the president's emergency declaration.

The legislation would provide more than $US300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and a range of other agencies through September 30.

The bipartisan deal brokered by members of both houses of Congress included just $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new border fences - a figure that Fox News host and notorious conservative pundit Sean Hannity ridiculed as minuscule compared to the $5.7 billion Trump had previously demanded to construct 200 miles of wall along the southern border.

One possible political repercussion if Trump declares the emergency: The Democratic-controlled House could pass a disapproval resolution that Senate Majority Leader McConnell would be forced to put on the Senate floor, an outcome that the Republican McConnell hoped to avoid. At the time, Democrats refused to budge from their initial $1.3 billion offer for border-security purposes, which didn't include funds for a border wall.

But the top Democrat in Congress immediately denounced the president's move.

Building the border wall was one of Trump's key election promises but he has so far been unsuccessful in getting the necessary funding.

Congressional aides say there is $21 billion in military construction money that could potentially be used by Trump if he declares a national emergency.

She has not said if House Democrats would legally challenge the president.

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The United States now has about 30 national emergency proclamations in effect, including ones related to the Iran hostage crisis of 1979 and the swine flu pandemic in 2009.

Earlier in the day, Grassley had asked for prayers so the president would have the "wisdom" to sign the spending measure to keep the government running.

Elizabeth Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University contends that the goal of emergency powers is to allow the President to address situations that require a faster response than Congress can muster. What's happening at the border is a humanitarian challenge to us. McConnell said he would stand behind the president's decision.

Legal scholars have been grappling with the emergency question since last month, when a lengthy partial government shutdown played out amid a deadlock between Republicans and Democrats over wall funding - and an emergency declaration emerged as an option for Trump. But according to the law the money has to be used in support of USA armed forces, they say.

The legislation being acted upon on Thursday also funds the Justice Department, Commerce Department, State Department, Department of Agriculture, Internal Revenue Service and others, covering roughly 800,000 federal workers. In private conversations, Trump has called the congressional bargainers poor negotiators, said a person familiar with the conversations who wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Pelosi said, "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".

It includes almost $1.4 billion for the southern border wall, significantly less than Trump's requested $5.7 billion.

The bipartisan compromise federal spending legislation was passed overwhelmingly by the US Senate.

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