A new House resolution will block Trump’s plans to use around $6 billion in military money for a border wall through his declaration of an national emergency. These are funds that Congress has already denied, on February 13th in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, in which Trump was given $1.375 billion for a border wall. The House plans to vote on the resolution on Tuesday 26th. The one-page resolution, which has 225 co-sponsors, including one Republican, cuts straight to the point “The national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15th, 2019… is hereby terminated.” Due to it being rooted in the National Emergency Act, unlike most legislation, this resolution must be voted on within 18 days of its introduction and immediately sent to the Senate, where it must also be voted on within 18 days.
Along with the resolution, House Speaker Pelosi sent out a letter to all House members stating “All Members take an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution.” She continued with a statement that “The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated.” Trump already vowed to veto the resolution on Friday. Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said Trump’s declaration “completely undermines Congress,” and that she would support a resolution of disapproval. Several other Republican senators have also expressed their concerns about the national emergency, but it is unknown how many would be willing to block the Resolution. GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin explained that “The problem is the President came to Congress asking for something. Congress said no. Our system doesn’t then allow the President to say ‘OK, I’m just going to do it anyway through some sort of cheat code’.” Representative Castor, who also officially introduced the Resolution, said “What the president is attempting is an unconstitutional power grab.” And he added “there is no emergency at the border.” To essentially put more pressure on Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the Senate will be introducing an identical resolution and he urges his fellow legislators to vote for the House resolution.
The resolution will need to pick up four republican votes in the Senate, and even after all that work it will most likely lead to the first Trump veto. A veto, already promised “100 percent” by the president in the Oval office on Friday, will not put an end to this controversial national emergency declaration’s fight. 16 states have already filed a lawsuit over the declaration, they are arguing that the declaration unconstitutionally redirects federal money that Congress has already set aside for other purposes and exceeds the power of the president. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi did not rule out the possibility of the committee chairmen filing lawsuits over the wall as well.
This highly controversial topic has now been pushed into a legislative and legal battle over its constitutionality. The next couple of weeks and possibly two vital votes will decide the border wall’s fate. All of this brings up general concerns of how important it is for an elected official to 100% fulfil their campaign promises even if it means substantial executive overreach? And what really makes something a U.S. National Emergency? These questions will mostly likely continue to go unanswered, but hopefully the upcoming congressional votes will begin to clear the air surrounding presidential overreach in these circumstances.
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