February 14, 2019
The announcement of Trump's decision came just minutes before the Senate voted 83-16 to advance the spending package in anticipation of final passage Thursday night by the House.
Trump plans national emergency to build border wall as Senate passes spending bill
President Donald Trump plans to declare a national emergency so he can bypass Congress and build his long-promised wall along the border even as he signs a spending bill that does not fund it, the White House said Thursday.
The announcement of his decision came just minutes before the Senate voted 83-16 to advance the spending package in anticipation of final passage Thursday night by the House.
Trump’s decision to sign it effectively ends a two-month war of attrition between the president and Congress that closed much of the federal government for 35 days and left it facing a second shutdown as early as Friday, but it could instigate a new constitutional clash over who controls the federal purse.

“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,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.
Trump plans national emergency to build border wall as Senate passes spending bill
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said Democrats were “reviewing our options” in responding to Trump’s anticipated declaration and did not rule out a legal challenge.
“The president is doing an end run around Congress,” she said.
She also raised the possibility that Trump was setting a precedent for Democratic presidents to come, precisely what Republicans fear.
“You want to talk about a national emergency, let’s talk about today,” Pelosi said, reminding Trump that it was the anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would.”
The spending legislation includes the seven remaining bills to keep the remainder of the government open through the end of September. House and Senate negotiators unveiled the 1,159-page bill Wednesday just before midnight, leaving little time for lawmakers to actually digest its contents.
“The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country,” Sanders said, as she announced Trump would sign it.
The border security compromise, tucked into the $49 billion portion of the bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security, is perhaps the most stinging legislative defeat of Trump’s presidency. It provides $1.375 billion for 55 miles of steel-post fencing, essentially the same that Trump rejected in December, triggering the shutdown and far from the $5.7 billion he demanded for more than 200 miles of steel or concrete wall.
In opting to declare a national emergency, Trump would seek to access funds for the wall that Congress had not explicitly authorized for the purpose, a provocative move that would test the bounds of presidential authority in a time of divided government. Legal experts have said Trump has a plausible case that he can take such action under current law, but it would almost surely prompt a court challenge from critics arguing that he is usurping two centuries of congressional control over spending.
And some Republicans were clearly nervous about his course of action.
“I don’t think this is a matter that should be declared a national emergency,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. “We as legislators are trying to address the president’s priority. What we’re voting on now is perhaps an imperfect solution, but it’s one we could get consensus on.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said, “We have a government that has a Constitution that has a division of power, and revenue raising and spending power was given to Congress.”
Trump disregarded objections raised by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the majority leader, and other Republicans who balked at what they deemed presidential overreach. Conservative lawmakers and commentators said that such a move would set a precedent for a liberal president to claim the same power to take action on issues like climate change or gun control without congressional consent.
But Trump ultimately could not see any other way out of his standoff with congressional Democrats over the border wall without shutting down the government again. The first government shutdown prompted by the wall fight deprived 800,000 employees of their paychecks, sapped the president’s standing in the polls and ended only when Trump gave up last month without getting a penny of the $5.7 billion he had demanded.
Democrats immediately prepared to advance legislation that would curtail the president’s abilities to use certain funds after a national emergency declaration.
A group of Democratic senators — including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, all aspiring presidential nominees — collaborated on a measure to prevent Trump from using funds appropriated for disaster relief to pay for border wall construction.
Trump made the wall his signature promise on the 2016 presidential campaign trail, where he was cheered by supporters chanting, “Build the wall,” only to be frustrated that he was unable to do so during his first two years in office, when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.
In waging a shutdown battle over the barrier, he has made it the nearly singular focus of his presidency in his third year in office. But Democrats, who took control of the House in January, have made blocking it just as high of a priority, leaving the two sides at a stalemate.
Negotiations since late December ultimately went nowhere. Pelosi, who led Democrats to power in the House, went beyond simply criticizing the wall as unwise or ineffective by declaring it “immoral,” drawing a hard line even though many Democrats have voted for fencing along parts of the border in the past.
At one point during the shutdown, Trump asked Pelosi if she would be willing to support the wall in 30 days if he agreed to reopen the government. When she said no, he got up and walked out of the room with a sharp “bye-bye,” then posted a message on Twitter declaring talks a “waste of time.”
Trump’s national emergency declaration could provoke a constitutional clash between the president and Congress. Under Article I of the Constitution, Congress has the power to appropriate funds. “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law,” it says.
But Congress has passed laws in the past providing presidents with authority in national emergencies, laws that remain on the books. Scholars pointed to two that could be used by the Trump administration to justify a presidential expenditure for his border wall without explicit legislative approval.
One permits the secretary of the Army to direct troops and other resources to help construct projects “that are essential to the national defense.” The other law authorizes the secretary of defense in an emergency to begin military construction projects “not otherwise authorized by law” but needed to support the armed forces.
Democrats or other critics of the president will almost surely file legal challenges to his move, which could ultimately lead to a confrontation at the Supreme Court. The court is led by a five-member conservative majority, but it has shown skepticism of presidential excesses in recent years, reining in both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama when the justices concluded they had overstepped their authority.
As lawmakers took up the spending bill Thursday, Democratic leaders, like their Republican counterparts, urged their rank-and-file to get on board.
“It is incumbent on Congress to come together to responsibly fund our government,” Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement released shortly after midnight. “This legislation represents a bipartisan compromise and will keep our government open while funding key priorities.”
Even with Congress’ left and right flanks grumbling, a solid majority of lawmakers has signaled support for the package, with Republicans and Democrats unwilling to court another shutdown less than 48 hours before funding for nine Cabinet departments and multiple federal agencies is set to expire.
The Homeland Security section of the measure allows for 55 miles of new steel-post fencing, but prohibits construction in certain areas along the Rio Grande Valley. More than $560 million is allocated for drug inspection at ports of entry, as well as money for 600 more Customs and Border Protection officers and 75 immigration officers.
It includes a provision, pushed by Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, the only negotiator from a border district, granting communities and towns on the border a period of time to weigh in on the location and design of the fencing. The White House finds that provision objectionable.
The bill also prohibits funds from being used to keep lawmakers from visiting and inspecting Homeland Security detention centers, after a number of highly publicized instances where Democratic lawmakers tried to visit detention centers and were turned away.
Lawmakers were also pulled in by the other six parts of the spending package, which finance a number of agencies, including the IRS, which is in the middle of tax-filing season, and the Commerce Department. Allocations include $77 million for addressing the opioid epidemic and funds to address natural disasters, including nearly $4 billion to wild-land fire programs and $12.6 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund.
The package also negates an executive order that Trump signed to freeze pay for federal civilian workers, and instead extends a 1.9 percent pay increase. Vice President Mike Pence, Cabinet officials and other high-level political appointees will also receive raises, about $10,000 a year, which were frozen during the shutdown.
Negotiators failed to resolve other matters, including back pay for federal contractors caught in the middle of the shutdown and an extension of the Violence Against Women Act, which expires Friday — although grants under the act are funded in one of the spending bills.
All but one of the 17 House and Senate negotiators signed off on the final package. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., refused to sign, saying he was given no time to digest the seven spending bills. But he did not rule out voting for the bill on the floor.
“Maybe the policy is good, maybe it’s not,” Graves wrote on Twitter. “I’ll work through this ahead of the final vote later today.”
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
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The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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