JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – President Donald Trump is prepared to sign a bipartisan bill on spending and border security to avert another government shutdown, but also declare a national emergency to obtain funds for his long-promised border wall, the White House said on Thursday (02/14).
“President 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 Sanders said in a written statement.
Speaking on the Senate floor on Thursday, however, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated his support for the move, saying the president was taking action with whatever tools he can legally use to enhance his efforts to secure the border.
In a 83-16 vote, the Senate on Thursday passed the border security bill. The House of Representatives later also backed the measure, by 300 to 128.The bill, once approved by the Congress and Trump, will keep the government open past a midnight Friday deadline. It would include 1.375 billion United States (US) dollars for physical barriers along the US-Mexico border.
Trump had previously demanded 5.7 billion dollars in funding for the border wall, his signature campaign promise. The fight over the funding of the border wall between the White House and congressional Democrats led to the record-breaking 35-day federal government shutdown which ended late January.
A national emergency declaration, which would allow the president to bypass Congress and use the military to build the wall, is widely expected to spark lawsuits challenging the president’s authority.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already suggested a legal challenge from Democrats should the president make an emergency declaration. She and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer also issued a strongly worded joint statement condemning the move.
“Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall,” they said.
The Democrats vowed that Congress would defend the constitutional authorities. They said Trump could ‘t convince Mexico, the American people or their elected representatives to pay for his ineffective and expensive wall, so now he’s trying an end-run around Congress in a desperate attempt to put taxpayers on the hook for it.
Amid this upheaval, US Census Bureau on Thursday report that the national retail sales post biggest drop in over 9 years. US retail trade fell by 1.2 percent from a month earlier in December 2018, following a revised 0.1 percent growth in November and missing market expectations of 0.2 percent gain.
It was the steepest decline in trade since September 2009, as sales fell in almost all categories. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales dropped 1.7 percent in December after an increase of 1 percent in November. Retail Sales MoM in the US averaged 0.35 percent from 1992 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 6.70 percent in October of 2001 and a record low of -3.90 percent in November of 2008.
The data shows 11 of 13 major retail categories showed month-over-month decreases. Receipts at gasoline stations tumbled 5.1 percent (vs -4.4 percent in Nov), the largest fall since Feb 2016, amid cheaper gasoline prices. Also, sales at hobby, musical instrument & book stores dropped 4.9 percent (vs -1.4 percent in Nov), the biggest drop since Sept 2008, and those at miscellaneous store retailers were 4.1 percent lower (vs 4 percent in Nov).
In addition, online and mail-order retail sales slumped 3.9 percent, the biggest drop since Nov 2008, after a 2.8 percent growth in the previous month. Spending also decreased at: furniture & home furniture stores (-1.3 percent vs 0.5 percent); electronics & appliance stores (-0.1 percent, the same as in November); food & beverage stores (-0.4 percent vs 0.1 percent); health & personal care stores (-2 percent vs 1.3 percent); clothing & clothing accessories stores (-0.7 percent vs 0.4 percent); general merchandise stores (-0.9 percent vs 0.4 percent); and restaurants and bars (-0.7 percent, the same as in November).
Meanwhile, receipts at motor vehicle & parts dealers rose 1 percent (vs 0.7 percent in November) and those at building material stores rebounded 0.3 percent (vs -1.5 percent in November).
Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales dropped 1.7 percent in December after an increase of 1 percent in November. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of GDP.
Year-on-year, retail trade grew 2.3 percent in December, compared with a revised 4.1 percent rise in the previous month.
Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: email@example.com