‘I wish it hadn’t come to this point, but the Democrats have left President Trump with no choice…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Congressional Republicans are divided over President Trump’s decision to issue a national emergency declaration to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, with many calling on the president to give up his signature campaign issue to avert a “constitutional crisis.”
Trump has agreed to sign a bipartisan spending bill that will prevent another government shutdown.
Republicans were able to secure $1.375 billion for the border wall, but Trump made it clear that that wasn’t enough.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the President intended to invoke the National Emergencies Act to reallocate funds toward construction of the border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would support the President’s national emergency declaration, though the GOP would prefer to avoid such a controversial move.
“I am for whatever works — which means avoiding a shutdown, and avoiding the president feeling he should declare a national emergency,” McConnell told reporters.
Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., agreed with McConnell and said a national emergency declaration wouldn’t be necessary if Democrats had agreed to allocate the full $5.7 billion for the wall.
“I wish it hadn’t come to this point, but the Democrats have left President Trump with no choice. There is a true crisis at the southern border, and I support President Trump 100 percent because border security is national security,” Byrne said in a statement.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., signaled his support for the president as well: “It’s now time for President Trump to use executive power, including declaring a national emergency, to build the wall.”
But not all Republicans are supportive of the president’s use of executive power.
Some of his closest congressional allies have spoken against the move, warning of the dangerous precedent it might set.
“I’m disappointed with both the massive, bloated, secretive bill that just passed and with the president’s intention to declare an emergency to build a wall,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in a statement. “I, too, want stronger border security, including a wall in some areas. But how we do things matters. Over 1,000 pages dropped in the middle of the night and extraconstitutional executive actions are wrong, no matter which party does them.”
Republicans’ discontent with the national emergency declaration suggests a congressional showdown could soon take place if Democrats attempt to veto the executive order, or if the House of Representatives takes Trump to court claiming an overreach of power.
According to federal law, Congress can rescind a presidential emergency declaration by passing a joint resolution.
Trump could then veto the measure, which could then be overridden with a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the House.
“I don’t believe that the National Emergencies Act contemplates a president unilaterally reallocation billions of dollars, already designated for specific purposes, outside of the normal appropriations process,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement. “Such a declaration would undermine the role of Congress and the appropriations process; it’s just not good policy. It also sets a bad precedent for future Presidents — both Democratic and Republican — who might seek to use this same maneuver to circumvent Congress to advance their policy goals. It is also of dubious constitutionality and it will almost certainly be challenged in the courts.”
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said he’s worried that a future Democratic president might abuse the president to set liberal policies without engaging Congress.
“What if somebody else thinks that climate change is a national emergency — then what will they do and how far will they go?” he told reporters.
Trump’s national emergency declaration could be more complicated than he thinks, said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who worries the funding would get “tied up” if there is a lawsuit.
“It’s not a very practical solution to the problem,” he said.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Republicans must tread cautiously moving forward.
“I will study the president’s declaration closely. The Constitution grants Congress the authority to appropriate federal dollars, so I’m sure such action will be litigated in the courts,” he said in a statement. “What’s clear, however, is that the president takes the situation at our border seriously and that Democrats do not. It defies reason that Democrats are so committed to an open border agenda.”