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Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives accused Mr. Trump of "making an end-run around Congress" and said launching a court challenge was "an option" she is reviewing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would soon vote on the bill that needed to avoid a partial federal shutdown. "I indicated I'm going to support the national emergency declaration", McConnell said not long after 3 p.m. on February 14.

The bipartisan legislation would provide more than $300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and a range of other federal agencies through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Mr McConnell sought to reassure politicians unsure of the President's position before taking a vote on the plan, which falls short of providing the $5 billion in border wall funding Mr Trump had demanded.

Republicans touted that the bill provides 55 miles of barrier in the Border Patrol's highest priority areas, a $US942 million increase to Customs and Border Protection for 800 new officers, and $US615 million for new equipment at ports of entry. The agreement includes controversial funding for the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the border with Mexico, and whose budget triggered a five-week shutdown that ended last month.

Many subsequent emergency declarations suspended assets, trade or other transactions with nations ranging from Libya to Panama, though most have lapsed after regime changes in those countries, according to the center.

The top Democrat in Congress denounced the president's move.

The question took on renewed urgency Thursday, with the news breaking that Trump planned to declare an emergency so he can bypass Congress and build his wall along the southwestern border and fulfill his signature campaign promise. "It's a humanitarian challenge". McConnell said he would stand behind the president's decision.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Experts have said Trump has nearly unlimited discretion, under a 1976 law, to declare a national emergency.

Trump has long vowed to build the border wall, saying it was necessary to block caravans of migrants coming from Central America, stop illegal drugs at the border and keep criminals from entering the United States. As NPR reported recently, the National Emergencies Act also gives Congress the power to nullify presidential emergency declarations.

Ms Pelosi has not indicated whether House Democrats planned to legally challenge the president. And they're going against it very hard and they're fighting.

That was the course of action recommended by Fox anchor and informal Trump adviser Sean Hannity, who on Monday denounced the funding bill as a "garbage compromise" but later said it was acceptable if coupled with an emergency declaration.

Pelosi said: "If the president can declare an emergency on something that he has created as an emergency - an illusion that he wants to convey - just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people". "The Constitution grants Congress the authority to appropriate federal dollars, so I'm sure such action will be litigated in the courts".

In December, Trump refused to back a short-term bipartisan spending plan, after initially suggesting he'd support it even though it lacked the wall money he wanted, after conservative pundits and lawmakers criticised him.