House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today that she may file a legal challenge and is in the process of reviewing her options. The legislation would reportedly provide more than $300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and some other USA agencies through 30 September, the end of the current fiscal year.
One possible political repercussion if Trump declares the emergency: The Democratic-controlled House could pass a disapproval resolution that Senate Majority Leader McConnell would be forced to put on the Senate floor, an outcome that the Republican McConnell hoped to avoid.
A stop-gap measure was in place till February 15, while the negotiators were racing against time to finalise a deal to prevent another shutdown Trump has kept up his demand for the wall, despite Democrats labelling the fence as a wastage of public money.
The legislation being acted upon on Thursday also funds the Justice Department, Commerce Department, State Department, Department of Agriculture, Internal Revenue Service and others, covering roughly 800,000 federal workers.
Velázquez, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, is concerned that Trump may use the national emergency declaration to take money from the relief effort to help the US territory with its recovery from the 2017 hurricanes that ravaged the island.
Congressional Democrats were similarly critical on Thursday.
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Earlier in the wall fight with Congress, some of Trump's fellow Republicans had warned him that declaring a national emergency could set a unsafe precedent, opening the door for a future Democratic president to circumvent Congress and declare emergencies on perhaps climate change or healthcare insurance.
The source said White House lawyers had vetted the figures and believed they would withstand a legal challenge. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, speaking to reporters at the White House on Thursday, said Trump now is "taking a look" at the measure.
"If this doesn't work out, I probably will do it, I would nearly say definitely", the president said of a national emergency declaration when he visited the border in Texas last month, adding, "If we don't make a deal, I would say 100 percent, but I don't want to say 100 percent".
The aide said it would be impossible for leaders to decide a path forward until they see what Trump does.
"When the President invents an emergency in order to fund a project that Congress has very explicitly declined to fund, that's an effort to undermine the constitutional allocation of powers", she said in a question-and-answer on the Brennan Center's website.
Trump, who campaigned on a promise to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, had demanded Congress allocate $5.7bn in funding for the wall. Some legal analysts say the emergency declaration is deeply alarming because it is an aggressive power grab by the president on funding issues. They also allow the president to "seize property, organise and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces overseas, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens", the document states.
The bipartisan compromise federal spending legislation was passed overwhelmingly by the US Senate.
"It's important to note that when the president declares this emergency, first of all, it's not an emergency", Pelosi said.So Trump relented. Now he wants to bully his way to building a wall by justifying his action on national security and humanitarian grounds. He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time.