What is a national emergency? Can Trump declare one for the wall?

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a rally at the El Paso County Coliseum

"He's prepared to sign the bill, he will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time", McConnell said.

The vast majority of the legislation, which totals $330 billion, is funding for federal government agencies that do not deal with immigration.

Conceding defeat in his earlier demand that Congress provide him with $5.7 billion in wall money, Trump agreed to sign a government-funding bill that lacks money for his wall, but prevents another damaging government shutdown.

The $330 billion package - which funds one-quarter of the government - includes $1.37 billion for 55 miles of border wall in Texas' Rio Grande Valley and additional money for security measures such as technology and law enforcement. Trump has repeatedly vowed that the border wall will be constructed anyway, and he previously hinted at declaring a national emergency so the military could build the fencing with funds diverted from elsewhere in the federal government.

In denying funding for Trump's wall, Congress has stood in the way of the president's ability to follow through on one of the key promises and applause lines from his 2016 campaign.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Thursday, however, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated his support for the move, saying the president was taking action with "whatever tools he can legally use to enhance his efforts to secure the border".

The House was expected to take it up later on Thursday.

The top Democrat in Congress immediately denounced the president's move.

The shutdown fight was always about more than just the wall - it was a battle over who would set the political agenda for the next two years of the Trump presidency. Some legal analysts say the emergency declaration is deeply alarming because it is an aggressive power grab by the president on funding issues.




Democrats flatly reject the president's description of the situation at the border, arguing that more humanitarian aid is needed and that points of entry need to be hardened.

"I think it's ridiculous", Sen.

White House staff and congressional Republicans have said that besides an emergency, Trump might assert other authorities that could conceivably put him within reach of billions of dollars.

President Trump is poised to declare a national emergency on the USA border with Mexico, allowing him to seize billions of dollars for a wall even as he signs a compromise deal providing limited cash for his signature project.

During the State of the Union speech this month, President Trump reiterated his call for funding of a wall to block unauthorized migration along the southern border.

"The reason for that is as with so much else Trump, what's he's doing would really smash through another constitutional guard rail in the sense that he would be explicitly doing an end run around Congress".

While the majority of Republicans have rallied behind Trump, some have voiced concerns that the declaration might violate the constitution and set a risky precedent. The measure would provide more than $300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

Will the "emergency" get Trump his wall?

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