President Trump will sign Congress' border wall deal to avert a partial government shutdown while at the same time declaring a national emergency, the White House says.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Trump's plans on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, saying that he's personally "going to support the national emergency declaration." White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders subsequently confirmed this plan, saying the president is "once again delivering on his promise to build the wall." She also suggested the president will take executive action beyond the national emergency declaration.
Trump had previously signaled that he would sign off on Congress' budget agreement despite not being happy with it. The deal includes $1.3 billion for border fencing, but not the $5.7 billion Trump had wanted for a border wall.
The president, however, had also previously indicated he would look to secure this border funding without Congress, including by declaring a national emergency. But many within his own party had feared this possibility and said they wouldn't support the move. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) had explained earlier this month, "the whole idea that presidents — whether it's President Trump, President Warren, or President Sanders — can declare an emergency and somehow usurp the separation of powers and get into the business of appropriating money for specific projects without Congress being involved, is a serious constitutional question," CNN reports.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday said "it's not an emergency what's happening at the border," adding that Democrats would "review our options." When asked if she might file a legal challenge, she said, "I may."