Executive Branch

President Donald Trump/Shutterstock.com.

President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency to fund a border wall without congressional approval, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump will sign the $328 billion funding bill to keep government operating, and he will also declare an emergency, according to Sanders and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico and CNN have coverage.

“The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country,” Sanders said.

The spending bill contains only $1.375 billion for 55 miles of steel-post border fencing. Trump has sought $5.7 billion for a wall.

Trump likely will use his emergency powers to tap funds designated for disaster aid or military construction projects, according to previous news coverage. Trump could rely on the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which regulates how presidents can exercise emergency powers that are given to him in hundreds of specific statutes.

The move likely is to lead to lawsuits. The American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project said last month that it thinks it’s unlawful to use emergency funds to build a border wall, and it is prepared to sue.

Common Cause released a statement Thursday calling on Congress to “check this power grab by President Trump.” If Congress refuses to act, members of Congress should turn to the courts, the statement said.

Some Democratic senators already are crafting a measure that would prevent Trump from using disaster aid for the wall, according to the New York Times.

Some GOP lawmakers also have expressed concern because a precedent set by Trump could be used by Democratic presidents to find funds for causes such as fighting climate change or battling gun violence.