The Latest: Trump signs bill averting government shutdown

1 month 1 week 1 day ago Friday, February 15 2019 Feb 15, 2019 Friday, February 15, 2019 1:43:00 PM CST February 15, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and border security (all times local):

2:33 p.m.

President Donald Trump has signed legislation to avert another government shutdown and pay for limited fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump signed the bill at the White House on Friday.

The legislation gives Trump 55 additional miles of border fencing, well short of the 200-plus miles he wanted.

The legislation also keeps parts of the government from shutting down at midnight Friday by providing $333 billion to finance several Cabinet agencies through September.

Trump on Friday declared a national emergency at the southern border and is using his executive authority to tap billions of other government funds to build the wall.

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11:25 a.m.

Congress' two top Democrats say they'll use "every remedy available" to oppose President Donald Trump's declaration of an emergency to shift billions of federal dollars into building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday they'll take action "in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public."

They say Trump's decision to declare an emergency is unlawful. They say it would "shred the Constitution" by usurping Congress' power to control spending.

White House officials say some of the money would come from military construction projects. Pelosi and Schumer say Trump would be using money needed "for the security of our military and our nation."

Democrats can file lawsuits and force congressional votes to block Trump's money transfers. Trump could veto the legislation should it pass.

Trump says he expects legal challenges.

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11:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he expects legal challenges to his decision to declare a national emergency to erect barriers between the U.S. and Mexico but says he'll be vindicated.

Trump announced Friday that he has signed the appropriate paperwork to declare an emergency on the border so he can build a wall.

In a sing-songy tone of voice, Trump then described how the decision will be challenged and work its way through the courts, including up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Critics have accused Trump of abusing his authority.

Trump says he shouldn't be sued but predicts "we will be very successful in court."

He adds: "Sadly, we'll be sued and sadly it will go through a process and happily we'll win."

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11:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he needs to use emergency powers to protect the United States from drug dealers and immigrants in the nation illegally.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted a photo of Trump signing the declaration Friday in the moments before his scattershot Rose Garden news conference.

Trump told stories of horrific abuse of women being smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border but didn't provide any evidence. He also said the border wall would be needed to battle drug cartels as part of a "virtual invasion" from Mexico.

The president declared a national emergency and would find other funds for the wall after expressing unhappiness about a congressional border security deal.

Families of people killed by immigrants in the United States illegally attended the news conference.

Trump's plans have been criticized on Capitol Hill.

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11:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump says many other presidents have declared national emergencies. But the presidents he has cited did not use emergency powers to pay for projects that Congress wouldn't support.

Emergency declarations by former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were overwhelmingly for the purpose of addressing crises that emerged abroad. Many blocked foreign interests or terrorist-linked entities from access to funds. Some prohibited certain imports from or investments to countries associated with human rights abuses.

A list compiled by the Brennan Center says Clinton declared 17 national emergencies, Bush 13 and Obama 12.

Trump said Friday he will use executive powers to bypass Congress, which approved far less money for border barriers than he had sought. Trump plans to siphon billions of dollars from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts for his long-promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The move has drawn criticism on Capitol Hill and is expected to face rounds of legal challenges.

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10:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he'll be declaring a national emergency so he can build a southern border wall.

Trump did not say on Friday when he would make such a declaration, but the move will allow him to bypass Congress to spend more money to erect barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Congress has given Trump about $1.4 billion for border barriers, well below the $5.7 billion Trump has insisted he needed to build a wall.

To get around Congress, Trump plans to use his executive authority to tap other sources of funding to get a total of $8 billion to build the wall. The White House says Trump plans to tap accounts in the Treasury and Defense departments, but not money earmarked for disaster relief.

Trump's move is expected to prompt lawsuits and challenges in Congress.

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10:50 a.m.

Add the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the groups opposing a national emergency declaration by President Donald Trump to free up budget funds to build his Southwest border wall.

The business organization's stance is not a total surprise. It's opposed Trump administration efforts to restrict legal immigration and to make it harder for young "Dreamer" immigrants to stay in the U.S.

Still, the chamber usually leans Republican. Its opposition Friday is the latest example of how word of an emergency declaration is splitting the GOP and its constituencies.

Trump plans to sign bipartisan legislation providing nearly $1.4 billion to build border barriers, but that fell short of the $5.7 billion he wanted.

Trump is expected to invoke executive powers to access another $6.6 billion. He says he'll sign a national emergency. That's expected to prompt lawsuits and challenges in Congress.

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10:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump plans to spend about $8 billion on border barriers, far more than Congress has given him for that purpose.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says Trump will tap various other sources of money beyond the nearly $1.4 billion in a government funding bill that Congress passed. Trump is expected to sign the bill.

Besides the money from Congress, Mulvaney said Friday that Trump plans to spend $600 million in Treasury forfeiture funds and $2.5 billion in Defense Department counterdrug money. Trump is also tapping about $3.6 billion worth of funds set aside for military construction projects.

Mulvaney says Trump is not tapping disaster relief money designated to help Texas and Puerto Rico following recent devastating hurricanes.

Trump's moves are expected to prompt lawsuits and challenges in Congress.

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12:45 a.m.

Congress has lopsidedly approved a border security compromise that would avert a second painful government shutdown.

But a new confrontation has been ignited. President Donald Trump's plan to bypass lawmakers and declare a national emergency to siphon billions from other federal coffers for his wall on the Mexican boundary is certain to be challenged.

Money in the bill for border barriers, about $1.4 billion, is far below the $5.7 billion Trump insisted he needed and would finance just a quarter of the 200-plus miles he wanted. The White House said he'd sign the legislation passed Thursday but act unilaterally to get more. That prompted condemnations from Democrats and threats of lawsuits from states and others who might lose federal money or said Trump was abusing his authority.

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