Trump signs border deal, averting shutdown

President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE on Friday signed a spending package to avert another government shutdown, his top spokeswoman said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Trump approved the measure on Friday afternoon in the executive mansion. Reporters were not on hand to witness the bill signing.

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The move came hours after Trump announced during a freewheeling, 50-minute news conference that he is declaring a national emergency to bypass Congress and obtain $8 billion for his long-desired border wall, a move that triggered a major legal showdown with Democrats.

Lawmakers authorized $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump demanded at the outset of spending talks.

The result marked a significant defeat of Trump, who pledged during the 2016 campaign that he would build a wall across the entire length of the southern border.

Roughly one-quarter of the federal government, including the Department of Homeland Security, would have shuttered if Trump had not signed the legislation.

Trump set off a 35-day partial shutdown in December after Congress passed a spending agreement that contained no money for his wall. He reopened government agencies on Jan. 25 after Democrats refused to grant his wall-funding demands.

The last shutdown was the longest in U.S. history and delivered a major blow to Trump's approval ratings. Republicans on Capitol Hill were eager to avoid a second shutdown and urged Trump to sign the agreement, despite his disappointment over the amount of wall money.