McConnell: Trump says he’ll sign border deal, declare national emergency

Trump has said he is not "happy" with the funding agreement, though he has been expected to sign it into law. Zach Gibson / Getty Images file

By Rebecca Shabad, Alex Moe and Frank Thorp V

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Thursday afternoon that President Donald Trump will sign a government spending package that resulted from bipartisan negotiations over border security and also will declare a national emergency.

“I just had an opportunity to speak with President Trump and he’s prepared to sign the bill,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “He will also be signing a national emergency declaration at the same time.”

After the Senate votes, the House is also expected to pass the spending package.

This came after Trump said earlier in the day that he was still reviewing the bill. In the morning, Republican senators said that they “pray” Trump signs it into law, averting another government shutdown on Friday.

The Senate is expected to act first on the 1,159-page bill, which was released just after midnight. The House will likely vote later in the evening, ahead of the Friday night deadline to prevent another partial government shutdown.

Trump has said he is not “happy” with the measure, though he has been expected to sign it. “Reviewing the funding bill with my team at the @WhiteHouse!” he tweeted Thursday afternoon, ahead of the Senate vote.

The bill would provide $1.375 billion for 55 miles of pedestrian and levee fencing in the Rio Grande Valley, significantly less than Trump’s $5.7 billion request. It also prohibits the use of a concrete wall or other Trump prototypes and specifies that only “existing technologies” for fencing and barriers can be used.

Despite a 35-day government shutdown over $5.7 billion for a border wall, the president came out with a worse deal than he would have gotten if he had backed the funding bill that lawmakers from both parties agreed to last June as part of the normal appropriations process. That bill included $1.6 billion in border funding — the original request by the Trump administration — and 65 miles of new border fencing.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., defended the agreement, saying that “no side will view this as a perfect deal,” but he said it is “something both sides should view as an important step. And today, I hope we will vote to advance it.”

“When the Senate votes on the agreement, we’ll be voting to avoid a second partial shutdown and provide the certainty of a fully functioning federal government,” McConnell continued.

Senate Republicans have publicly urged Trump to sign the deal once it receives congressional approval. NBC News reported earlier this week that they anticipate the president will sign it, though he has not said publicly that he would do so.

After the Senate chaplain delivered the opening prayer on the Senate floor, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chimed in: “I pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill so the government doesn’t shut down.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who helped negotiate the deal, said he had told Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that it should be viewed as a “down payment” to fund border security.

In addition to funding the Department of Homeland Security, the bill would also fund eight other federal departments: Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation and Treasury.

Notably, the agreement excludes an extension of the Violence Against Women Act, which Republicans wanted to include but Democrats insisted on passing a more comprehensive reauthorization of the program later this year.

Democrats also pushed unsuccessfully to include a provision to provide back pay for federal contractors affected by the recent shutdown, which was not included in the final version of the legislation. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., told reporters Wednesday that Trump would not sign the measure into law if the provision were included.

Story originally posted at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *