President Donald Trump declares a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border in Washington, D.C., February 15, 2019. (Carlos Barria/REUTERS)
The White House confirmed Friday that President Trump has signed a border-security-funding compromise bill passed by Congress earlier this week, just hours after he announced a national-emergency declaration designed to free up additional funds for his long-promised border wall.
Congress’s spending bill approved $1.375 billion for the construction of barriers at the southern border, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump requested. The national emergency, though it is likely to be tied up in court fights for some time, would in theory supplement that $1.375 billion, freeing up a total of $8 billion, including $3.6 billion of military construction funds, for the wall.
“Some of the generals think this is more important,” Trump said of building the border wall. “I won’t go into details but [the military projects] didn’t sound too important to me.”
“I didn’t need to do this,” he said of declaring an emergency. “I just want to get it done faster.”
The president predicted the move will be challenged in court, adding that if the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gets a chance to consider the case, it will likely rule against his administration.
“We should have sufficient money this year” with the freed-up funds to build the 234 miles of wall Trump wants to complete, Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said.
Republicans and Democrats reached a stalemate in December over border-wall funding, triggering a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history. Another shutdown would’ve commenced at the end of the day Friday if Trump had rejected the compromise bill passed by Congress.