President Donald Trump’s plans to declare a national emergency in order to fund his long-promised border wall will enable his administration to move $8 billion from various federal agencies to fund the project, a senior administration official told Fox News.
The news went public as Trump is set to sign the House border security package that provides $1.4 billion for the project, which is far below the $5.7 billion Trump insisted he needed and would finance just a quarter of the 200-plus miles he wanted to be defended against illegal immigrants.
The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said earlier Thursday that Trump will sign the spending bill and declare a national emergency at the same time Friday morning.
The White House said Trump would sign the legislation but will act unilaterally in order to get more funding, which was outright condemned by Democrats as well as threatened by lawsuits from states and others who might lose federal money.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., issued a joint statemet saying that the national emergency would be “a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract” from Trump’s failure to force Mexico to pay for the wall, which was his campaign promise.
“Congress will defend our constitutional authorities,” they said. They did not want to say whether that meant lawsuits or votes on resolutions to prevent Trump from unilaterally moving money for the construction of the wall, with aides saying they would wait to see what he does.