WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump intends to sign a bipartisan funding package aimed at averting a government shutdown but will declare a national emergency at the same time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday.
Estimating that the decision will happen at the end of the week, McConnell said he is going to support the declaration of a national emergency, a move Trump has long talked about executing so that he could earmark more money for his long-promised wall along the southern border.
“I had an opportunity to speak with president Trump and he, I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated he’s prepared to sign the bill,” said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.
The Senate had been waiting for word from the White House before scheduling a vote on the spending agreement, which includes $1.375 billion for fencing along the border wall. Senators said well into Thursday afternoon that they were not sure whether Trump would sign the bill.
Trump’s demand for $5 billion in money for a border wall initiated a month-long government shutdown that began in December.
Congressional leaders and the White House agreed at the end of the last month to end the shutdown, with the understanding that a bipartisan group of negotiators in the House and Senate would sit down for talks on a measure that included border security funding. The deal the negotiators struck this week includes $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new barriers along certain portions of the U.S. border.
The Senate is slated to vote on the agreement later this afternoon, with the House expected to follow shortly after.
“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and has stated before, he will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”