WASHINGTON.- The White House on Thursday confirmed that President Donald Trump will sign the budget bill to be presented to him by Congress and will also declare a national emergency, which will enable him to take money from other budgetary line items to finance construction of his much-touted US-Mexico border wall.
«President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action – including a national emergency – to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,» White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
«The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country,» the statement adds.
The White House confirmation came just minutes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in the upper house that the president would sign the budget and would declare a national emergency.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate approved the government budget for the current fiscal year which – if supported in the House and signed by Trump – would avoid a government shutdown.
In an 83-16 vote, the Senate approved the bill including $1.375 billion in funding for construction of part of a US-Mexico border wall, far below the $5.7 billion Trump has been demanding.
Last Monday, congressional Republicans and Democrats reached a budget accord that included $1.375 billion to build about 88.5 km (55 mi.) of border wall or barrier.
However, Trump earlier had said that he was not «happy» with the results of the negotiations.
Trump had suggested that, if Congress did not give him the $5.7 billion he has been demanding to build a portion of border wall, he would declare a national emergency, a move that would allow him to siphon funds from elsewhere in the budget for that project without the approval of Congress.
Sanders said that the White House is «very prepared» to defend itself if legal challenges are mounted against the Trump administration over declaring the national emergency, but she added that she doesn’t think that will happen because «the president is going to do his job.»
If the budget bill is not approved by the House or if Trump does not sign it, the country runs the risk of a new government shutdown, as occurred on Dec. 22 resulting in the partial paralysis of about a quarter of the government for 35 days.
The paralysis impacted some 800,000 of the 2.1 million federal workers, who were not able to collect their paychecks while the government was shut down, although they did receive the pay that they were due after it reopened.