15 Feb 2019

Donald Trump to sign bill, declare emergency for border wall funding

10:21 am on 15 February 2019

Donald Trump will sign a government funding bill but also declare a national emergency to get funding for his promised US-Mexico border wall, the top Senate Republican says.

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in El Paso, Texas, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Photo: AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would soon vote on the bill that needed to avoid a partial federal shutdown.

Funding is due to expire for a range of federal agencies on Friday.

The bipartisan legislation would provide more than $US300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and other departments through to 30 September, but without the $5.7 billion Mr Trump wanted for the border wall.

The border bill would provide $US1.37bn in new money to help build 88.5 km of new physical barriers on the border. It is the same level of funding Congress appropriated for border security measures last year, including barriers but not concrete walls.

Mr Trump triggered a 35-day-long shutdown of about a quarter of the federal government with his December demand for $US5.7bn. In denying him that money, Congress has blocked Mr Trump from carrying through on one of his key 2016 campaign pledges.

"I've just had an opportunity to speak to President Trump and he, I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated he is prepared to sign the bill," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.

"He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time and I've indicated to him that I'm going to support a national emergency declaration," McConnell said.

The bill faces votes in the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-controlled House of Representatives before going to Mr Trump.

The emergency declaration is an attempt by Mr Trump to bypass Congress to get the funding, and appeared to be headed toward triggering a swift court challenge from Democrats on constitutional grounds.

- Reuters / AP