USA government funding bill passes Congress, ready for Trump's signature
15 February, 2019, 07:47 | Author: Israel Montgomery
Congressional Republicans have been pointing Trump to pots of federal money he could tap for a wall to steer him away from using a politically hard emergency declaration to bypass Congress, a strategy sure to be challenged in court.
"For all of my colleagues", McConnell said on the Senate floor, "the president will sign the bill".
Pelosi said she "may" mount a legal challenge against the declaration but did not not want to commit to anything until seeing Trump's explanation for his action. The measure would provide more than 300 billion USA dollars to fund the Department of Homeland Security and a range of other agencies through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
He will sign a border security bill to avert a government shutdown - but also act to bypass Congress and use military funds for the wall, a statement said.
The administration has spent months trying to figure out how the president might be able to move forward with the wall - the central promise of his 2016 campaign - if Congress refuses to give him the money. The bill, which still needs to pass both legislative chambers, provides $1.383 billion for barriers at the US border with Mexico.
A stop-gap measure was in place till February 15, while the negotiators were racing against time to finalise a deal to prevent another shutdown Trump has kept up his demand for the wall, despite Democrats labelling the fence as a wastage of public money.
That's all related to the question of whether Trump can declare a national emergency to build a wall.
Velázquez, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, is concerned that Trump may use the national emergency declaration to take money from the relief effort to help the USA territory with its recovery from the 2017 hurricanes that ravaged the island. "A Democratic president could do that".
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it a "gross abuse of power of the presidency" on Thursday, and Pelosi denounced it as "another demonstration of a naked contempt for the rule of law" by Trump. "It's a humanitarian challenge to us", Ms Pelosi said. Senator, Richard Shelby of Alabama, tweeted, "I just talked to the President, and he was in good spirits". "He's trying an end-run around Congress in a desperate attempt to put taxpayers on the hook for it". But Graham also told reporters Trump would then look elsewhere to find more money to build the wall and was "very inclined" to declare a national emergency to secure the funds.
Jessica Levinson, political law professor at Loyola Law School, said although Trump has the power to declare an emergency at any moment, it would be complicated process. "The Constitution grants Congress the authority to appropriate federal dollars, so I'm sure such action will be litigated in the courts". Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will plan votes on the bill later today, after many members return from the funeral of longtime Rep. Walter Jones in North Carolina.
Aides had said earlier they were concerned Mr Trump would reject the spending compromise - a major shift from earlier this week when officials indicated privately that he would.
And if it gets to President Donald Trump's desk, there's no guarantee he'll sign it.
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