Mitch McConnell: President Trump will sign budget deal, declare national emergency

Thursday, February 14, 2019

WASHINGTON -- Senator Mitch McConnell says President Donald Trump will sign the budget bill to avert a shutdown and will also declare a national emergency at the border at the same time.

The top Republican announced on the Senate floor that the president had briefed him on his plans, and that he will support the national emergency declaration.

The Senate expected to pass the funding bill Thursday afternoon.

Work on a first barrier extension - 14 miles in Texas' Rio Grande Valley - starts this month, approved by Congress about a year ago along with money to renovate and strengthen some existing fencing. But that's a far cry from the vast wall Trump promised during his campaign would "go up so fast your head will spin."

Trump and his aides have also signaled in previous days that he is preparing to use executive action to try to secure additional money for the wall by tapping into existing federal dollars without any congressional sign-off so he can show supporters he's continuing to fight. That could lead to resistance in Congress or federal court.

Swallowing the deal would mark a major concession by Trump, who has spent months insisting the situation at the southern border represents a national security crisis that demands an impregnable wall. He also had insisted he would accept nothing less than $5.7 billion for the barrier - a demand that forced the 35-day partial shutdown that left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without paychecks and Republicans taking the brunt of the blame. There is no appetite for a repeat.

The tentative deal lawmakers reached this week would provide less than $1.4 billion for border barriers while keeping the government funded through the end of September. While some conservatives, Fox News commentator Sean Hannity among them, have balked at the deal, other allies of the president have urged him to sign it and move on.


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