WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump said he'll be declaring a national emergency so he can build a southern border wall.
Trump did not say on Friday when he would make such a declaration, but the move will allow him to bypass Congress to spend more money to erect barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Congress has given Trump about $1.4 billion for border barriers, well below the $5.7 billion Trump has insisted he needed to build a wall.
To get around Congress, Trump plans to use his executive authority to tap other sources of funding to get a total of $8 billion to build the wall. The White House says Trump plans to tap accounts in the Treasury and Defense departments, but not money earmarked for disaster relief.
Trump said many other presidents have declared national emergencies. But the presidents he has cited did not use emergency powers to pay for projects that Congress wouldn’t support.
Emergency declarations by former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were overwhelmingly for the purpose of addressing crises that emerged abroad. Many blocked foreign interests or terrorist-linked entities from access to funds. Some prohibited certain imports from or investments to countries associated with human rights abuses.
A list compiled by the Brennan Center said Clinton declared 17 national emergencies, Bush 13 and Obama 12.
Congress' two top Democrats said they'll use "every remedy available" to oppose Trump's declaration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday they'll take action "in the Congress, in the courts and in the public."
They said Trump's decision to declare an emergency is unlawful and would "shred the Constitution" by usurping Congress' power to control spending.
White House officials said some of the money would come from military construction projects. Pelosi and Schumer said Trump would be using money needed "for the security of our military and our nation."
Democrats can file lawsuits and force congressional votes to block Trump’s money transfers. Trump could veto the legislation should it pass.
Trump said he expects legal challenges to his decision to declare a national emergency to erect barriers between the U.S. and Mexico but says he'll be vindicated.
"Sadly, we'll be sued and sadly it will go through a process and happily we'll win," he said.
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