(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump capped months of political drama Friday, annoucing he’s signing a bill to fund the government, avoiding another government shutdown, while also taking the extraordinary action of declaring a national emergency to secure additional funding for his proposed border wall that congressional Democrats refused to give him.
The president explained his highly controversial move in a Rose Garden announcement, saying, “We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other.”
He said he was taking “critical actions” but “not because it was a campaign promise.”
“We’re talking about an invasion of our country.”
Trump’s decision to go along with a congressional border security deal funding deal comes after a 35-day shutdown — the longest in U.S. history — and after three weeks of negotiations by a bipartisan group on Capitol Hill that delivered a bill without all the wall money the president wanted. The measure includes $1.375 billion for border security, enough to construct about 55 miles of new barrier in new areas, but less than the proposal Trump rejected late last year, triggering the shutdown.
The president’s emergency declaration order and other executive actions come on the heels of warnings from the Justice Department that the moves are nearly certain to be blocked by court challenges, at least temporarily.
Trump is seeking to a total of about $8 billion through a mix of spending from the congressional appropriations bill, executive action and the emergency declaration.
A senior White House official familiar with the plan to get money beyond the congressional funding told ABC News $1.375 billion would come from the spending bill Congress passed Thursday; $600 million would come from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion would come from the Pentagon’s drug interdiction program; and through an emergency declaration: $3.5 billion from the Pentagon’s military construction budget.
Both Republicans and Democrats have voiced opposition to Trump’s emergency declaration, a workaround that would allow him to build a border wall without support from Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had previously opposed the president’s moves, announced on the Senate floor Thursday the news that Trump would sign the deal, and that he would support an emergency declaration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a joint statement Thursday, said the declaration would be a “lawless act” and a “gross abuse of the power of the presidency.”
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