Trump to sign wall funding deal, declare national emergency

Washington: United States President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency to fulfill his long-pending demand to build the barricade across the border with Mexico, the White House confirmed on Thursday (local time).

Trump will also sign a compromise border security deal that will allow funding for the 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. The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

The development comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Trump would declare a national emergency and also sign the deal reached by Congressional negotiators that provides USD 1.3 billion in funding for the wall, in a bid to avert another partial government shutdown, The Hill reported.

McConnell, who reportedly told Trump not to declare a national emergency, said that he was in favour of the US President’s decision.

Later, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the border security legislation to prevent a fresh shutdown. The final vote count stood at 83-16. The House is expected to give the go-ahead to the deal later in the day.

The new deal would fund a quarter of the government agencies till September 30. The bipartisan agreement would provide USD 1.3 billion in funding to build 55 miles of the wall along the US-Mexico border, well short of Trump’s demand for USD 5.7 billion.

On Wednesday, Trump said that he did not want to see another partial government shutdown, asserting that it “would be a terrible thing” and did not want to see “another one.”

An impasse between the US Congress and Trump over funding for the wall had earlier triggered the longest-ever partial government shutdown in the US last December, which lasted for 35 days and left scores of federal workers without pay for the period.

A stop-gap measure was in place till February 15, while the negotiators were racing against time to finalise a deal to prevent another shutdown.

Trump has kept up his demand for the wall, despite Democrats labelling the fence as a wastage of public money. He had also indicated declaring a national emergency to get the barricade built “at any cost.”