President Trump Didn’t Get His Border Wall Funding So He Is Now Declaring A National Emergency
After months of negotiations with Congress, President Trump took the unprecedented step of declaring a national emergency to get funds for a border wall along the U.S-Mexico border. The news came on Friday morning after Congress passed a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown. The Senate voted 83-16 to pass the spending deal, which would provide a little over $1 billion for border security but no money for Trump’s border wall. It was soon after that the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that the President would “take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.”
Trump isn’t the first president to call for a national emergency but he’s the first to declare one for a crisis that technically is not a crisis at all.
Did you know?
Every president since 1976 has declared at least one #nationalemergency.
H.W. Bush: 4
W. Bush: 12
Trump: 3 (as of 2018)
— PragerU (@prageru) February 14, 2019
After President Trump’s original request for $5.7 billion wasn’t part of the spending bill approved by Congress, he is now taking things into his own hands. The president suggested for weeks that he would declare a national emergency if Congress wouldn’t approve more funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He says a wall is necessary to counter what he has called a “humanitarian crisis” at the border.
He will now be facing mounting legal opposition now that he has announced $8 billion moved in the budget to fund his border wall. Soon after news broke of the presidents plans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quickly responded to the belief that there is a crisis happening at the border.
“First of all, it’s not a national emergency; it is a humanitarian challenge to us,” Pelosi said. “The president is making an end run around Congress.”
Pelosi is correct here. Illegal border crossings have been dropping every year since 2006 and the argument that drugs are being smuggled across the border is also incorrect, most drugs are seized at ports of entry.
By declaring a national emergency, Trump plans to use funding from various parts of the federal government for his wall, most notably the Department of Defense.
To build his wall, via an unconstitutional grab of Congressional powers, Donald Trump will announce tomorrow that he is unilaterally taking $3.5 billion out of DoD military construction budget funds.
These funds benefit troops and their families.
— VoteVets (@votevets) February 15, 2019
By declaring a national emergency, President Trump is able to reach into certain funds provided under statutes previously passed by Congress. This essentially means that he has the authority to pull from military construction funds and civil works projects, like infrastructure repair projects. The president has to notify Congress of where he decides to pull money from but they cannot stop him due to the call of a national emergency.
While legal challenges can temporarily stop him, the chances of succeeding are slim because the definition of a national emergency is vague in wording. The president will likely face more roadblocks with landowners whose property is along the border. They will surely take legal action if they are forced to have a border wall built on their property.
Polls show that a majority of Americans are against Trump’s decision to delcare a national emergency.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 15, 2019
Americans have overwhelming denied the need for a wall along the southern border. Even more, Americans are against Trump taking money from military and infrastructure budgets to build his wall, which is what Trump is doing with his national emergency delcaration.
What does this all mean going forward?
There is no #NationalEmergency. Based on the Trump Administration's own data:
⬇️ Border Apprehensions: Down 75% from 2000 to 2018
⬇️ Violent & Property Crime: Down across the U.S.
✅ 80% to 90% of illegal drugs come through legal checkpoints
— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) February 15, 2019
The president is now facing opposition not only from Democrats but from even some Republicans. The call for national emergency sets precedent moving forward that is a slippery slope when it comes to using presidential authority. It also essentially undermines the purpose and role of Congress.
What happens in the courts next is the big question at hand. A president calling for a national emergency when there technically isn’t one, just to build a large barrier — has yet to be tested in the courts. If the case is to reach all the way to the Supreme Court, which currently favors in the conservative side, the president could likely win. This could take months or even years to get settled. If the president is trying to get a quick fix for his border wall, he’s going to have to wait.