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Trump to sign border bill and declare national emergency to get wall funding
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will sign a border security bill to avert another government shutdown, but also declare a national emergency to obtain funds for his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, the top Senate Republican said on Thursday.
In an attempt to bypass Congress to get money that lawmakers have denied him for his wall, Trump appeared headed toward triggering a swift court challenge from Democrats on constitutional grounds.
"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 bipartisan legislation would provide more than $300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and a range of other federal agencies through Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Funding is due to expire for those agencies on Friday.
Congress was expected later on Thursday to approve the legislation, which does not contain the money Trump demanded for the wall but does contain money for other border security measures.
The bill faces votes in the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-controlled House of Representatives before going to Trump, who triggered a 35-day-long shutdown of about a quarter of the federal government with his December demand for $5.7 billion to help build a portion of the wall.
In denying him that money, Congress has blocked Trump from carrying through on one of his key 2016 campaign pledges.
The border bill would provide $1.37 billion in new money to help build 55 miles (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.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Roberta Rampton; Writing by Kevin Drawbaugh and James Oliphant; Editing by Will Dunham)
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.
The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.
On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.
Editor's note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.