WASHINGTON (NBC News) – President Donald Trump on Friday announced his plans to declare a national emergency to secure funding for the wall he promised to build along the U.S. border with Mexico.
“I’m going to be signing a national emergency,” Trump said, speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House.
Trump’s executive action comes after the president indicated he would sign the bipartisan government spending deal passed by Congress Thursday night, which provides further funding for border security but no money for a wall, to avoid another shutdown.
The emergency declaration could allow him to spend money on a wall from military and other accounts, but legal challenges are likely to delay that spending for a long time.
Trump, who spoke without the aid of a teleprompter, appeared to have difficulty staying focused on the task at hand during lengthy remarks that veered from trade relations with China and his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the state of the economy. He did not provide all of the details of his border plan.
Trump’s declaring a national emergency to get his wall. He’s forcing a constitutional crisis.
Trump plans to veto any Hill interference with emergency border declaration, say aides. But senior administration officials said Friday that with the declaration, Trump will have access to a total of $8 billion for the wall. That figure includes $1.375 billion offered by Congress in the spending bill for fencing in Texas; $600 million from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion from a Defense Department drug interdiction program; and $3.5 billion from a military construction budget under an emergency declaration by the president.
Trump has said for weeks that he was considering using his national emergency powers to unlock funds for his wall, despite originally vowing that Mexico would pay for it.
News of Trump’s plan to declare a national emergency was met with swift criticism from lawmakers in both parties Thursday, with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, calling it a “dangerous step.”