WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump moved Friday to further limit travel by Congress members during the partial government shutdown, and said he would make a “major announcement” about border security on Saturday after weeks of mulling the declaration of a national emergency.
“I will be making a major announcement concerning the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown, tomorrow afternoon at 3 P.M., live from the @WhiteHouse,” Trump tweeted late in the day.
Trump has spoken as of late about pronouncing a “national emergency” at the border, theoretically enabling him to utilize defense cash for his proposed divider along the U.S.- Mexico border – yet also triggering a claim from Democrats who say the president lacks the legal authority for such a move.
The White House would not say whether Trump’s announcement would be an emergency declaration.
“I suggest everybody tune in,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
Trump issued his cryptic tweet hours after his administration said it would bar members of Congress from using government planes without prior written approval.
The new policy, announced in a memo to department heads, was set up one day after Trump dropped a military plane for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was planning to lead a congressional delegation to Afghanistan this end of the week.
“Under no circumstances during a government shutdown will any government owned, rented, leased or chartered aircraft support any Congressional delegation, without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff,” wrote Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.
“Nor will any funds appropriated to the Executive Branch be used for any Congressional delegation travel expenses, without his express written approval,” Vought’s memo said.