Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had received assurances Trump will sign the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had received assurances Trump will sign the bill. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Congress Approves Bill to Avoid Another Shutdown as Trump Prepares National Emergency

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that Trump will sign the bill to keep the government open and move to redirect military funds to build a border wall simultaneously.

The Senate on Thursday voted 83-16 to approve a spending package to keep federal agencies open until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, following indications that President Trump would sign the measure.

The House followed suit Thursday evening, passing the measure 300-128 and sending it to Trump's desk. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor that he had received assurances that Trump would enact the bill, which provides funding for the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security and Justice, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, Office of Personnel Management and other independent agencies. The president plans to simultaneously declare a national emergency allowing him to redirect money from the Defense Department toward construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The bill, which represents the culmination of weeks of negotiations by appropriators, would provide $1.375 billion in funding for a border wall, well below the $5.7 billion demanded by Trump ahead of a 35-day partial government shutdown triggered by his refusal to sign a short-term continuing resolution. It also includes a 1.9 percent across-the-board pay increase for federal civilian employees for this year, retroactive to Jan. 1.

In recent days, observers believed that the president had abandoned his plan to declare a national emergency as a way to secure more funding for a border wall than had been allocated by Congress, citing concerns from Republicans, including McConnell, that such an action would be held up in court challenges and could set a precedent future Democratic presidents could cite for other initiatives.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Trump’s plans.

“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and he has stated before, he will also take other executive action—including a national emergency—to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” she said. “The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border and secure our great country.”

McConnell said Thursday that he would support the national emergency declaration. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the move as an “end-run” around the appropriations process.

“We will review our options and be prepared to respond appropriately to it,” she said at a press conference Thursday. “I know the Republicans have some unease about it, no matter what they say, because if the president can declare an emergency around something that he has created as an emergency—an illusion that he wants to convey—just think of what a president with much different values can present to the American people.”

This story has been updated to reflect that the House also passed the bill