WASHINGTON – The US Senate and US House of Representatives both passed a bipartisan funding bill to prevent a government shutdown Thursday, and President Donald Trump signed the bill Friday even though it only includes one-fourth of the funding he asked for in order to build a border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) first revealed on Thursday that the president told him he would sign the bill but he would also be declaring a national emergency to fund construction of a wall along America's southern border. McConnell said, "He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time."
And White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had confirmed the news saying, “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. The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised to explore all options to oppose the president's national emergency declaration saying, "If the president can declare an emergency on something that he has created as an emergency, an illusion that he wants to convey, just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people."
The state of emergency is expected to be challenged in court, but Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation tells CBN News the president has the authority to do so.
"There are a lot of funds appropriated by Congress that are tied to a particular purpose; there are a lot of funds that are not," he said. "He CAN do it, it all depends on the White House finding money that has been appropriated but not tied to a specific purpose."
The news came one day after lawmakers put the final touches on a budget bill, leaving themselves little time to go through the measure before Thursday night's scheduled vote. Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA) said the rush to pass the bill was "absurd" since the bill is more than a thousand pages long.
Here's what was known about the bill at the time of its passage:
- It includes nearly $1.4 billion for the southern border wall, significantly less than Trump's requested $5.7 billion.
- It also includes a $1.7 billion increase for the Department of Homeland Security for things like new technology at ports of entry, customs officers, and humanitarian aid.
- It would reduce US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention beds from about 50,000 to 40,000.
Despite Trump's displeasure with the bill, lawmakers like Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) had urged him to take the deal and consider it a down payment.
Not included in the bill is a deal for DACA "Dreamers," illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children.