Trump Declares National Emergency

Last Friday, the President signed an omnibus spending bill that funds the federal departments and agencies subject to last month’s partial government shutdown through the end of fiscal year 2019, averting another shutdown. The bill included nearly $1.4 billion for physical barriers along the southern border, less than the $5.7 billion the President initially requested. At the same time, the President declared a national emergency under which the Administration will seek to redirect federal funds to build additional security barriers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the declaration “unlawful” and pledged to fight it in court. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voiced support for the declaration, some Senate Republicans have called it unnecessary.

Crisis in Venezuela

President Trump was in Miami on Monday for a speech about the crisis in Venezuela. He reiterated his demand that Nicolas Maduro abandon his claim to the presidency, again voicing the United States’ support for opposition leader Juan Guaido. In the meantime, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer led a series of trade meetings this week with a Chinese delegation in Washington. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow, and Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro also participated.

Deputy Attorney General Nomination

With new Attorney General Bill Barr in place at the Department of Justice, the President announced this week his intention to nominate Deputy Secretary of Transportation Jeff Rosen to replace outgoing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

With Congress in recess this week for Presidents Day, many members traveled to Europe to attend the Munich Security Conference and to meet with senior NATO and EU officials.

Read more in our Emerging Technologies Washington Update.