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  •  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. Sept. 5, 2018.

    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. Sept. 5, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 February 2019

President Donald Trump plans for a border wall are made harder as democrats lead U.S. House of Representatives.

President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday to declare a national emergency in an attempt to fund his U.S.-Mexico border wall without congressional approval, a step likely to plunge him into a court battle with Congress over constitutional powers.

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Conceding defeat in his demand that Congress provide him with $5.7 billion in wall money, Trump agreed to sign a government funding bill that lacks money for his wall but prevents another damaging government shutdown.

The bill, passed by the Republican-led Senate on Thursday, will go to the Democratic-led House of Representatives for final congressional approval. While it contains money for fencing and other forms of border security, it ignores the "great, great wall" that Trump promised in his 2016 campaign to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking.

"President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action - including a national emergency," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

The top Democrat in Congress immediately denounced the president's move. Asked by reporters if she would file a legal challenge to an emergency declaration, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: "I may, that's an option."

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer accused Trump of a "gross abuse of the power of the presidency."

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would support Trump on the emergency declaration. Earlier this month, McConnell cautioned Trump that declaring an emergency could divide Senate Republicans, the Washington Post reported.

An emergency declaration could infringe on Congress' authority to make major decisions about spending taxpayer funds, a power spelled out as a fundamental check and balance in the U.S. Constitution.

For weeks now, as the president's demands of Congress for wall funding went nowhere, even after a historic 35-day partial government shutdown, the White House has explored the possibility of an emergency declaration that could be invoked to redirect taxpayer funds committed by Congress for other purposes toward paying for Trump's wall.

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