Democrats and a number of Republicans in the US have denounced Donald Trump's plans to declare a national emergency to secure funding for his proposed border wall with Mexico.
Yesterday, it was confirmed the US president would sign a bipartisan funding bill aimed at averting another partial government shutdown.
The funding bill does not contain the $5.7 billion in funding Trump had demanded for the border wall.
It does add $1.4bn for physical barriers along the border – but the word ‘wall’ is not included in the document.
While President Trump indicated he did not like the bill agreed by Congress, the White House confirmed he'd sign it.
However, he is also planning to take the controversial step of declaring a national emergency at the US-Mexico border.
.@PressSec: 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 White House 45 Archived (@WhiteHouse45) February 14, 2019
The move would likely see military funds diverted to fund construction of the border wall, effectively bypassing Congress.
President Trump is expected to declare the emergency during a speech at the White House later today.
Many high-profile Democrats quickly announced their opposition to the prospect of a national emergency.
They insisted it would be an effort to bypass Congress, and firmly rejected the suggestion there's an emergency at the US-Mexico border.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters they're keeping their options open to 'respond appropriately' to the move.
She said: "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 Donald Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall.
"It is yet another demonstration of Donald Trump's naked contempt for the rule of law. This is not an emergency, and the President’s fearmongering doesn’t make it one."
Her comments was echoed by Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.
A number of the prominent Democrats who've announced presidential bids also spoke out against the plans, including senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.
Gun violence is an emergency.
Climate change is an emergency.
Our country's opioid epidemic is an emergency.
Donald Trump's ridiculous wall is not an emergency.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 14, 2019
'It sets a bad precedent'
However, opposition was not limited to Democrats - with a number of prominent Republicans indicating they were not in favour of Trump's plans.
They expressed their concerns over the precedent it would set.
Any such move would theoretically set up future Democratic presidents to declare emergencies to tackle major issues such as climate change and gun violence.
Those declarations would be firmly opposed by conservatives.
Republican senators such as Susan Collins also questioned whether the move would be constitutional:
My statement on reports President Trump will declare a national emergency to fund more border walls: pic.twitter.com/fTDgKkRDd6
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) February 14, 2019
Any national emergency declaration is likely to be challenged in Congress.
However, it's unclear whether opponents could secure enough votes in the Republican-controlled Senate to overrule a presidential veto.
Democrats also haven't ruled out challenging any emergency declaration in the courts.
Even if judges ultimately back the president, a lengthy legal process could significantly delay the measures from being implemented.