Trump makes a stunning statement about the declaration of a national emergency

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Romney, too, said he would reserve judgment on potential executive action by the president until he can fully evaluate it, "but as I've said, I do not believe declaring a national emergency is the right approach". Military officials are empowered under multiple statutes, following the declaration of a national emergency, to divert funding and resources "essential to the national defense" including the "use of the armed forces".

"The whole idea that presidents - whether it's President Trump, President Warren or President Sanders - can declare an emergency and somehow usurp the separation of powers and get into the business of appropriating money for specific projects without Congress being involved, is a serious constitutional question", Cornyn said.

Fortunately, there is a legal mechanism in place, although technically it's never been done before.

National emergencies have been declared 58 times since the laws were reformed in 1976, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, but none of those occasions was over spending which Congress would not grant. Rather than suffer defeat, Bush withdrew it one day before the vote, NPR reports.

Margaret L. Taylor, a former Democratic chief counsel and deputy staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in an article posted January 7 to Lawfare that Trump will face a challenge in convincing people that an emergency exists and that he is not abusing his power.

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Maybe it's a long shot, but at least it's something. It was his most enduring pledge from his successful 2016 campaign for the White House, with his most ardent supporters often shouting, "build the wall!" The measure would provide more than US$300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and a range of other agencies through Sept 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

Trump's determination to secure funding for the border wall and the refusal by Democrats led to the first partial government shutdown. Goitein said in a blog post that Trump has undermined his case that the emergency would be constitutionally valid.

"Of course, we will respond accordingly", Pelosi added.

And, as much as the president may like to spin this as a victory by other means, he still backed down in the face of Democratic resistance in Congress.

The Senate passed the federal spending legislation by a margin of 83-16. The senator said he had spoken to the president.

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He will sign a border security bill to avert a government shutdown - but also act to bypass Congress and use military funds for the wall, a statement said.

The border bill would provide $US1.37 billion in new money to help build 89km of new physical barriers on the border. He had also indicated declaring a national emergency to get the barricade built "at any cost".

Congressional aides said House Democrats would take various steps to try to block Trump's emergency, possibly including a lawsuit.

FILE PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell listens to U.S. President Donald Trump as the President holds a meeting with Republican House and Senate leadership in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. September 5, 2018.

"Just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people", she said. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will plan votes on the bill later today, after many members return from the funeral of longtime Rep. Walter Jones in North Carolina.

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