- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2019

President Trump will sign the spending bill, but at the same time, he will also issue a national emergency declaration to go around Congress and build more border wall, the Senate’s top Republican announced Thursday.

“The president will sign the bill,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor, ending days of speculation about whether he could accept the deal that gave him just $1.375 billion in border wall money, far less than the $5.7 billion he’d sought.

The Kentucky Republican said he’d spoken personally to the president to get the assurance about signing the bill.

Mr. Trump’s signature will avert a government shutdown that had been looming Friday in the absence of a new bill.

But his national emergency declaration will spark new controversy, including an expected round of lawsuits and even a potential attempt to overturn the declaration by Congress.

Mr. Trump did, though, pick up an important backer. Mr. McConnell said he will support the president’s emergency declaration.

The spending deal was reached Monday, but it wasn’t until early Thursday that the details were publicly revealed, and conservative activists and security experts say those details are worrisome for those who favor stricter immigration enforcement.

While there is flexibility to detain a record level of illegal immigrants, new restrictions limiting who can be detained or deported could put a serious dent in Homeland Security’s operations.

And though the bill included some money to build 55 miles of new border fencing, construction was limited to only a small section of the border in the southern tip of Texas.

Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration, which not affecting who can be detained, should allow him to build walls beyond the boundaries Congress tried to impose.

Democrats were happy with the president’s promise to sign the bill, but complained about his plans to go around them to declare an emergency.

“That would be a very wrong thing to do,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

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