Democrats in the US Congress believed they could stymie US President Donald Trump’s determined quest to secure the nation’s southern border. After all, they now hold a majority in the House of Representatives.
But they were wrong.
Trump’s opponents managed to hold out through the recent government shutdown, shifting the blame for the impasse to the President. And they managed to cobble together a new border security bill with Republicans that delivers only around one fifth of the funding Trump requested for the US–Mexico border wall.
Now Trump will sign the border security bill to avert a second government shutdown.
But he will also declare a national emergency to fund the wall, the White House says.
Trump will not back down
White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said an executive action such as a national emergency was paramount in stopping the national security and humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border.
The bipartisan compromise federal spending legislation expected to be soon dropped on Trump’s desk would provide more than US$300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security, as well as a number of other agencies through to 30 September.
Funding for these agencies will expire this Friday.
This bill, which the President has not yet signed, will provide US$1.37 billion in new money to help build 89km of new physical barriers on the border.
Not nearly as close to the $5.7 billion the President initially demanded to build a portion of the wall.
According to RAW, Trump is hoping to use an extra US$2.7 billion that was previously provided by Congress to fund the barrier in the case of a national emergency, according to a source familiar with the situation.
But top Democrat and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quick to criticise Trump’s move, saying she is prepared to file a legal challenge if he goes ahead with the likely move.
‘It’s not an emergency, what’s happening at the border. It’s a humanitarian challenge to us,’ she said. Pelosi added:
‘If the president can declare an emergency on something that he has created as an emergency — an illusion that he wants to convey — just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people.’
In her criticism of the President’s actions, she redirected the conversation towards US gun violence being a real receiver of national emergency.
However, White House lawyers believe to be well prepared for the possibility of a legal battle after assessing the situation.
Whatever the decision, if Congress and Trump cannot come to an understanding quickly, the US government could face another partial shutdown.
Trump’s wall could become a legal battle
Despite Trump’s resourcefulness for extra cash, the power of the national purse still remains in the hands of Congress, under the Constitution.
The bill was expected to be approved late yesterday — and while it does not contain money specifically for the wall, it does contain cash that can be used for ‘other’ border security measures, RAW reports.
But as much as the Democrats insist on digging their heels into the ground, Trump has proved more than capable of fighting hard to get what he wants.
And as he’s already proved with one shutdown of government in protest, he will go to extreme lengths to deliver the promise he gave to Americans in 2016.
Get ready for the next chapter of Trump turmoil — this one may go to the courts.
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