- Congress on Thursday passed the border-security compromise attached to funding to avert another partial government shutdown.
- According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Donald Trump also plans to declare a national emergency to boost funding for physical barriers along the US-Mexico border.
- Democrats are calling the move an abuse of power.
WASHINGTON – The border-security proposal attached to legislation needed to keep funding the government passed both the House and the Senate on Thursday and will head to President Donald Trump’s desk.
The bill, once signed into law by Trump, will avert another partial government shutdown like the recent fiasco that lasted a record 35 days.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed the funding package Thursday afternoon by a vote of 83 to 16. Senators who voted against the deal included the 2020 presidential candidates Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
It passed the House, 300-128, with some Republicans dissenting over what they said was insufficient funding for physical barriers along the United States-Mexico border.
Now that the full legislation is headed to the White House for Trump’s signature, another fight is brewing on Capitol Hill.
That is because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also announced Thursday that Trump would be supplementing the border-security compromise with a national-emergency declaration to add funding for physical barriers along the US-Mexico border. Republicans are already fretting about the legal challenges such action is sure to face, while Democrats are calling it an abuse of power.
“Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency, and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.
“It is yet another demonstration of President Trump’s naked contempt for the rule of law,” they added. “This is not an emergency, and the president’s fearmongering doesn’t make it one. He couldn’t convince Mexico, the American people, or their elected representatives to pay for his ineffective and expensive wall, so now he’s trying an end-run around Congress in a desperate attempt to put taxpayers on the hook for it. The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities.”
And Democrats are not alone in questioning the legality of a national-emergency declaration. Even those who support the measure have expressed concern about it.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters in January that an emergency declaration was “not my preferred route,” adding, “I don’t know legally if you can do that.”
But Republican leadership in both the House and the Senate are holding firm in their support of an emergency declaration.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Republicans would not join a resolution of disapproval in the event Trump followed through. Upon announcing the emergency declaration on the Senate floor, McConnell said he had informed Trump he would support it.
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