WASHINGTON (AP) – 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.
The top two Democrats in Congress called Trump’s expected move “a lawless act” and “a gross abuse of the power of the presidency” on Thursday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say in a joint statement that “Congress will defend our constitutional authorities.”
Pelosi has the ability to pass legislation to overturn any such move by Trump, and that measure could pass the GOP-held Senate as well, though Trump could veto it. Trump’s move would also face a certain court challenge.
Pelosi and Schumer say, “This is not an emergency, and the president’s fearmongering doesn’t make it one.”
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