WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday to declare a national emergency in an attempt to fund his U.S.-Mexico border wall without congressional approval, a step likely to plunge him into a battle with Congress over constitutional powers.
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.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would support Trump on the emergency. Earlier this month, McConnell had cautioned Trump that declaring an emergency could divide Senate Republicans, the Washington Post reported.
An emergency declaration could infringe on Congress’ authority to make major decisions about taxpayer funds, a fundamental check and balance spelled out in the Constitution.
For weeks, as the president’s wall-funding demand to Congress went nowhere, even after a historic 35-day partial government shutdown, the White House explored whether an emergency declaration could be invoked to redirect taxpayer funds committed by Congress for other purposes toward the wall.