Trump plans to allocate $8 billion to fund border wall, source says


Mitch McConnell said Thursday that President Trump would sign the bipartisan border security bill - and then declare a national emergency to find the money for his long-promised border wall that Congress wouldn't give him.

Congressional aides said House Democrats were expected to file a lawsuit when Trump declares a national emergency in order to protect the House's constitutional powers to decide how US taxpayers' money is appropriated.

McConnell told the Senate, "I've just had an opportunity to speak with President Trump, and he has indicated he's prepared to sign the bill". The measure would provide more than 300 billion US dollars to fund the Department of Homeland Security and a range of other agencies through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

When the President signs the spending measure into law, it will bring to a close weeks of fighting between congressional Democrats and the White House and Republican lawmakers over border security, a dispute that triggered the longest government shutdown in U.S. history when funding for roughly a quarter of the federal government lapsed as a result of the standoff in December.

In denying him that money, Congress has blocked Trump from carrying through on one of his key 2016 campaign pledges. The president had demanded $5.7 billion of funding for a wall on the border, but congressional Democrats refused to provide any funding for a wall after retaking the House of Representatives. That shutdown finally ended on January 25, after Trump announced he had reached a deal to reopen the government until February 15 with no border wall funding.

Using emergency powers, Trump could reallocate federal funds from other projects to use on building a barrier.

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

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it a "gross abuse of power of the presidency" on Thursday, and Pelosi denounced it as "another demonstration of a naked contempt for the rule of law" by Trump.

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A source said lawyers from the White House and other agencies had vetted the figures and believed they would withstand a legal challenge. Kamala Harris, a 2020 presidential candidate from California, said, "I think it's ridiculous".

Experts have said Trump has nearly unlimited discretion, under a 1976 law, to declare a national emergency.

"If Trump follows through, lawmakers and the White House would dodge their second partial shutdown since December, sparing about 800,000 federal workers from more financial pain", CNBC reported.

In conversations with allies over the past days, Mr Trump has griped that Republican negotiators were outplayed by their Democratic counterparts, securing a border funding number far smaller than Trump has spent the last two months demanding. They also allow the president to "seize property, organise and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces overseas, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens", the document states.

Previous reports stated that the Trump administration considered redirecting money from disaster areas to fund the border wall.

That was the course of action recommended by Fox anchor and informal Trump adviser Sean Hannity, who on Monday denounced the funding bill as a "garbage compromise" but later said it was acceptable if coupled with an emergency declaration.

Some prominent Republicans also criticized the Trump's plan to declare a national emergency.