President Trump plans to sign a border deal that will avoid a partial government shutdown, and at the same time declare a national emergency, as he has threatened to do, in order secure more funding to build a border wall.
The White House confirmed Trump’s decision, which was first announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the Senate floor.
“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,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
After the Senate votes on the bill Thursday, the legislation will be taken up by the House later Thursday afternoon. It is expected to pass both chambers easily.
The announcement ended what had been some suspense over whether Trump would support the deal, which gives him $1.375 billion for 55 miles of border fencing rather than the $5.7 billion the President had requested.
Republican supporters of the bipartisan agreement had stressed that it left Trump flexibility to take other measures to secure more funding for border barriers. However some GOP lawmakers had indicated that they’d prefer Trump to use what is known as a “transfer authority” to reallocate money from other programs, rather than declare a national emergency.
McConnell, in his remarks Thursday, said he supported Trump issuing a national emergency. The move is expected to prompt a legal fight.
.@senatemajldr: “I’ve just had an opportunity to speak with President Trump…he’s prepared to sign the bill. He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time.” pic.twitter.com/iukGKjmoZ8
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 14, 2019
McConnell’s announcement came after GOP lawmakers had suggested the Senate would not move forward in voting on the bill until Trump had confirmed he would sign it. White House aides were also reportedly less certain of Trump’s support than they were when the deal was announced by its bipartisan legislative negotiators earlier this week. The text of the legislation was only released Wednesday night.