US President Donald Trump will sign a spending bill averting a government shutdown but will also issue an emergency declaration to fund his contested border wall, the Senate’s top Republican said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told colleagues that he spoke by phone with Mr Trump, who “indicated he’s prepared to sign the bill.”
He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time.”
Declaring such an emergency, a rare step, would free Trump to seek to redirect federal funds from elsewhere to help pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border, although the move is expected to be challenged in court.
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Mr McConnell said the Senate will soon vote on the bill that’s needed to avoid a partial federal shutdown.
The comprise measure keeps departments running through the fiscal year but without the $US5.7 billion Trump wanted for the border wall with Mexico.
The House is also expected to vote on the bill later today.
Reviewing the funding bill with my team at the @WhiteHouse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2019
I want to thank all Republicans for the work you have done in dealing with the Radical Left on Border Security. Not an easy task, but the Wall is being built and will be a great achievement and contributor toward life and safety within our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2019
The Democratic-controlled House was poised to pass the sweeping measure and the Republican-led Senate was expected to approve as well.
Mr Trump’s assent would end a raucous legislative saga that commenced before Christmas and saw him force a record 35-day partial federal shutdown.
Earlier the president tweeted: “Reviewing the funding bill with my team at the (at) WhiteHouse!”
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said earlier he was praying that Mr Trump would sign the border security deal into law to prevent a government shutdown.
Mr Grassley was presiding over the Senate opening when after the Morning Prayer, he added: “Let’s all pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill so the government doesn’t shut down.”
Mr McConnell urged senators to approve it as “a compromise that no side will view as a perfect deal.”
More to come.