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As Congress Passes Border Deal, Focus Turns to Trump

President has said he'll sign it, but declare emergency for border wall funds
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2019 3:49 PM CST
Updated Feb 14, 2019 9:06 PM CST
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks with reporters during her weekly news conference, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Congress lopsidedly approved a border security compromise Thursday that would avert a second painful government shutdown, but a new confrontation was ignited—this time over President Trump's plan to bypass lawmakers and declare a national emergency to siphon billions from other federal coffers for his wall on the Mexican boundary. Money in the bill for border barriers, about $1.4 billion, is far below the $5.7 billion Trump insisted he needed and would finance just a quarter of the 200-plus miles he wanted. The White House said he'd sign the legislation but act unilaterally to get the rest, prompting immediate condemnation from Democrats and threats of lawsuits from states and others who might lose federal money or said Trump was abusing his authority. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump's expected move a "lawless act."

The uproar over Trump's next move cast an uncertain shadow over what had been a rare display of bipartisanship to address the grinding battle between the White House and lawmakers over border security, per the AP. The Senate passed the legislation 83-16, with both parties solidly on board. The House followed with a 300-128 tally, with Trump's signature planned Friday. Democrats overwhelmingly backed the legislation, with only 19—most of whom were Hispanic—opposed. Just over half of Republicans voted "no." Should Trump change his mind, both margins were above the two-thirds majorities needed to override presidential vetoes. Lawmakers, however, sometimes rally behind presidents of the same party in such battles. (Read more border wall stories.)

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