President Donald Trump is set to declare a national emergency Thursday evening to deal with the southern border crisis, a move that will come as he signs the bi-partisans border security legislation passed by the Senate earlier in the day and expected to be passed later in the day by the House, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday afternoon from the floor of the Senate.
“He has indicated he is prepared to sign the bill. He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time,” Senator Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. “I’ve indicated to him that I’m going to support the national emergency declaration. So for all of my colleagues, the President will sign the bill. We will be voting on it shortly.”
The Senate voted 83-16 to pass the border security legislation today and the House will vote on the measure tonight.
By declaring a national emergency, President Trump will move forward on the construction of a physical barrier along the country’s porous southern border to the extent that is lacking in Thursday’s bipartisan measure.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement on Trump’s plan.
Statement on Government Funding Bill: pic.twitter.com/DrNv9D4rEi
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) February 14, 2019
“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.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was critical of the President’s decision. In a press conference reacting to Trump’s decision, she said the national emergency declaration would be an “end around Congress.”
“You want to talk about a national emergency? Let’s talk about today, the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America,” Pelosi said. “That’s a national emergency.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claims Trump broke a core promise in a tweet.
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 @realDonaldTrump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall. pic.twitter.com/almWo3OHHM
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 14, 2019
“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 @realDonaldTrump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall.”
Pelosi and Schumer released a joint statement on the matter.
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) February 14, 2019
“It is yet another demonstration of President Trump’s naked contempt for the rule of law. 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.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted in support of Trump’s decision.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) February 14, 2019
“I stand firmly behind President @realDonaldTrump’s decision to use executive powers to build the wall-barriers we desperately need.”
Trump has not personally spoken on the matter.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Battleground State News.