Senate

Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown

The Senate approved legislation Thursday that would prevent a new government shutdown and provide money for President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall moments after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that Trump would also sign an emergency declaration over the southern border.

The 83-16 vote in the Senate came after several hours of drama, with increasing chatter about whether Trump would actually sign the deal, which funds a quarter of the government that was poised to run out of funding starting on Saturday.

The bill now heads to the House, which is expected to vote on it later Thursday evening and send it to Trump’s desk for his signature.

{mosads}The vote came as aides and lawmakers remained in the dark throughout Thursday about whether or not Trump would sign the agreement, which was struck by a bipartisan conference committee earlier this week.

McConnell ended that suspense a little after 3 p.m., when he interrupted a Senate floor speech to announce that Trump would sign the border deal but also declare a national emergency.

“I had an opportunity to speak with President Trump and he, I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated he’s prepared to sign the bill,” McConnell said. “He also [will] be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. I indicated I’m going to support the national emergency declaration.”

The White House also released a statement confirming that Trump “will sign the government funding bill, and as 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.”

“The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in the statement.

The legislation would prevent the second partial government shutdown in as many months. The first, which lasted 35 days over December and January, was the longest in U.S. history.

The new legislation would fund roughly a quarter of the federal government through Sept. 30.

In addition to funding for roughly a quarter of the government, the bill includes $1.375 billion for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border including 55 miles of fencing. That’s below the $5.7 billion Trump requested or the $1.6 billion included in the Senate’s spending measure for the Department of Homeland Security.

Fears that Trump might not sign the bill even as the Senate and House prepared to approve it were widespread on Thursday.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) opened the Senate by asking his colleagues to pray that Trump would sign it.

“Let’s all pray that the president will have wisdom to sign the bill so the government doesn’t shut down,” Grassley said.

Republicans emerged from a closed-door caucus lunch largely in the dark about Trump’s intentions.

“I hope that one, we’ll pass the bill in the Senate and then the House with good margin, and then the president will sign it,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who spoke with Trump on Wednesday night.

But the funding bill also sparked backlash from conservatives, some of whom publicly urged Trump not to sign it.

Top conservative pundits bashed the bill on Thursday, sparking fresh questions about if Trump would sign the legislation. Fox News host Laura Ingraham said in a string of tweets that Trump “must not” sign it.

Several Republican senators voted against the funding deal, which was filed around midnight Wednesday: GOP Sens. Mike Braun (Ind.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ted Cruz (Texas), James Inhofe (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).

The bill also split several 2020 White House contenders serving in the Senate, with Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) voting against it.

—Jordan Fabian and Juliegrace Brufke contributed 

Tags Ben Sasse border deal Border wall Chuck Grassley Cory Booker Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Immigration Kirsten Gillibrand Mike Braun Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Pat Toomey Rand Paul Richard Shelby Shutdown Ted Cruz Tim Scott Tom Cotton

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