15 Feb 2019
Trump to sign funding deal; will declare national emergency anyway
On Thursday, the White House, in a press conference, announced that US President Donald Trump would sign a government funding bill to avert another government shutdown.
However, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also announced that President Trump would declare a national emergency to obtain funds for his proposed US-Mexico border wall, which did not get adequately funded in the aforementioned bill.
Funding for federal agencies has been approved till September 30
On Thursday, the US Senate passed a massive budget and border security deal with an overwhelming majority, allocating more than $330bn to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies till September 30, the end of this financial year.
President Trump's willingness to sign the legislation will ensure that the US government does not go into another shutdown.
However, a meagre allocation has been made for the wall
However, the funding bill, in its $49bn allocation for the DHS, allotted only $1.375bn for 88.5km of steel fencing along the border - far short of the $5.7bn the President had demanded for his border wall.
President Trump's $5.7bn demand had earlier been strongly opposed by Democrats in the Congress, and the consequent impasse had led to the longest US government shutdown in history.
Trump will avert a shutdown, but wants the wall built
Evidently, the President is not pleased with the allocation for his wall.
While he has decided to avert another shutdown by signing the funding bill, it appears that he is also ready to declare a national emergency to get the funding required for the 3,200km border wall, which was a key election promise made by him in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential Elections.
How House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted to the announcement
Democrats, understandably, are far from pleased.
Responding to the White House's announcement, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi promised to respond appropriately to a national emergency declaration.
She added that there was no crisis at the border that required the declaration of a national emergency.
She further said that declaring a national emergency would undermine the authority of the Congress.
Trump could legally declare an emergency, but will be challenged
Legal experts say that under current law, President Trump has a plausible case using which he can declare a national emergency to secure funding for the wall.
However, such a declaration is almost certain to invite a court challenge from opponents, who will argue that the President is usurping over two centuries of Congressional control over government spending.
Wall needed to address 'crisis' at border: Sanders
"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," announced Sanders on Thursday.