U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to declare a national emergency this week, allowing him to bypass the Congress and fully fund his ambition to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The battle over border wall funding has dragged on for months and led to the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history – at 35 days.
CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.
The news comes as the U.S. Congress is poised to pass a federal spending bill to fund the U.S. government through September, this after a bipartisan congressional commission reached a deal to provide $1.375 billion for 88 kilometers of fencing. The president said earlier this year, he wanted $5.7 billion. The White House said Trump will sign the bill but that won’t prevent a national emergency.
“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,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders in a statement. “The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”
The declaration of a national emergency allows the U.S. president to move funds for military spending to other projects. But Sanders’ statement indicating “other executive action” could mean the White House will move funds from other government departments toward the border barrier.
While top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said he would support the president’s declaration, the opposition party Democrats stood firmly against it. The Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said her party is considering mounting a legal challenge to the decision.
“We will review our options,” she told reporters. “We will be prepared to respond appropriately to it.”
Pelosi – and lawmakers of both parties – worry this could set a precedent for other presidents to follow, that if they can’t get a measure passed via the U.S. Congress, they’ll use this method to go around lawmakers to execute their agenda alone.
“I know the Republicans have some unease about it no matter what they say because if they president can declare an emergency on something that he is 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,” she said.
A BRIEF TIMELINE OF EVENTS LEADING TO PRESIDENT TRUMP’S CALL FOR A “NATIONAL EMERGENCY”
Trump rejects $25 billion for border wall, plus path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants
Trump rejects $1.3-$1.57 billion for barriers and fencing
DECEMBER 22, 2019:
U.S. partial government shutdown begins
JANUARY 2, 2019:
Trump rejects Vice President Pence’s proposal of $2.5 billion for the wall.
JANUARY 6, 2019:
Trump asks Congress for $5.7 billion to build a border wall along the U.S.- Mexico border
JANUARY 25, 2019:
U.S. partial government shutdown ends temporarily for three weeks after Trump signs measure
FEBRUARY 12, 2019:
U.S. lawmaker reach a bipartisan border security compromise for $1.375 billion
FEBRUARY 14, 2019:
Reviewing the funding bill with my team at the @WhiteHouse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2019
FEBRUARY 14, 2019 3:11 P.M.:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell steps to the podium on the senate floor to say this:
“President Trump’s prepared to sign the bill. He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. And I’ve indicated to him that I’m going to support the national emergency declaration.”
FEBRUARY 14, 2019 3:32 P.M.:
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders releases a statement to the press pool: “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.” Sarah Sanders
FEBRUARY 14, 2019 3:59 P.M.:
Press Secretary Sanders tells reporters at the White House: “We’re very prepared, but there shouldn’t be [legal challenges]. The president’s doing his job. Congress should do theirs.”
FEBRUARY 14, 2019 4:25 P.M.:
U.S. Senate passes 1.375 billion by a vote 83-16 to avert another government shutdown. U.S. House expected to vote on same bill later Thursday night
Calvin Dark discusses President Trump agreeing to sign spending bill
CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Calvin Dark, president of RC Communications, about President Trump agreement to sign Congress’s spending bill.