Trump will sign spending bill and declare national emergency

Source: Politico | February 14, 2019 | Sarah Ferris and John Bresnahan

The move will avert a government shutdown Friday, while immediately fueling a fierce battle in the courts.

President Donald Trump plans to sign a bipartisan spending deal and then declare a national emergency to fund his border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday.

The move will avert a government shutdown Friday, while immediately fueling a fierce battle in the courts — a fight that Democrats in Congress say they’re eager to take on.

“He is prepared to sign the bill,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, ending days of uncertainty about whether Trump would back the massive funding compromise. “He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time.”

The White House quickly confirmed the move. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Trump will “take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.”

Trump has threatened for months to declare a national emergency as a way to circumvent Congress to secure money for his signature campaign promise, a border wall that Democrats detest.

But the sudden move on Thursday — which caught most on Capitol Hill by surprise — will create a test of loyalty for Republicans.

GOP lawmakers have been privately and publicly urging Trump to avoid such a step, fearful that the expansion in powers could propel a future Democratic president to take the same step on climate change or gun violence.

McConnell announced on the floor that he would support Trump’s decision, though he had previously voiced skepticism of such a drastic move.

Democratic leaders also appeared caught off guard by the decision, though several Democratic-led House committees had already been working on potential legal efforts to challenge Trump’s long-rumored plans for executive action.

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