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US House passes border security bill, sends it to Trump

US government shutdown looms Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Washington, DC, USA Feb 15, 2019, 08.08 AM (IST)

The US House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bipartisan border security bill aimed at averting a government shutdown and sent it to President Trump, including new barriers for part of the US-Mexico border but not the $5.7 billion he sought.

"I rise to support this bipartisan agreement, which while not perfect, keeps our government open and funds many essential crucial needs," Democratic representative Debbie Wasserman said, adding," I can not stay silent on the President's threat to declare a national emergency to pay for his boondoggle of a border wall."

The Democratic-run House backed the measure, a spending bill providing over $300 billion for several government departments and agencies, 300 to 128. It passed the Senate earlier on Thursday. The White House has said Trump will sign it into law, but will also attempt to use unilateral powers to obtain money for a wall.

"Now, this is not the bill I would have written. And this is probably not the bill that any of my colleagues on the other aisle would have written. But we have all finally found a compromise that the Congress can pass," Republican John Rutherford said.

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell had told colleagues that he spoke by phone with Trump, who "indicated he's prepared to sign the bill. He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time."

The White House confirmed the plan minutes later.

"He will also take other executive action - including a national emergency - to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border," Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Trump is expected to sign the spending bill, expected ahead of a Friday midnight deadline.

Pelosi, Trump's Democratic nemesis, expressed disdain for the president's upcoming emergency declaration, warning that he was doing "an end run around Congress." "It's not an emergency, what's happening at the border," she said.

Trump's declaration is expected to be challenged in court.