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Trump Plans National Emergency to Build Border Wall as Congress Passes Spending Bill.

 
 
Reply Thu 14 Feb, 2019 10:18 pm
Trump Plans National Emergency to Build Border Wall as Congress Passes Spending Bill.


Published February 14, 2019

Quote:
WASHINGTON — President Trump will declare a national emergency as early as Friday to bypass Congress and build his long-promised wall along the nation’s southwestern border even as he agreed to sign a spending package that does not finance it, White House officials said Thursday.

The announcement came just minutes before voting began on the spending measure, which then cleared both houses, ending a two-month war of attrition that closed much of the federal government for 35 days and threatened a second shutdown on Friday. The Senate passed it 83 to 16, and the House followed later in the evening, 300 to 128.

But if he declares a national emergency to access billions of dollars for his wall, Mr. Trump could instigate a constitutional clash over who controls the federal purse and test the bounds of presidential authority in a time of divided government. Democrats and some Republicans instantly condemned the move, with some vowing to challenge it through legislation and lawsuits.

The emergency declaration combined with the $1.375 billion in the spending measure dedicated to fencing and other reprogrammed funds would allow the president to put together about $8 billion for barriers along the border, according to an administration official, more than the $5.7 billion he had been seeking from Congress.

President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. “The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border and secure our great country.”

Mr. Trump’s announcement capped hours of last-minute drama as he came under pressure on Thursday morning to not sign the spending legislation from conservative figures like Laura Ingraham, who denounced it on Twitter as a “monstrosity” and a “Total SCAM!”

A balky president considered telling Republican leaders to put aside the measure, brokered by both parties, and instead pass a short-term bill to keep the government open while allowing him to resume efforts to win border wall money, according to a Republican briefed on the situation.

Such a move would have unraveled the delicate bipartisan balance favored by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, who wanted to move beyond the wall fight. In a telephone conversation on Thursday, Mr. Trump asked Mr. McConnell whether the spending measure included any hidden provisions or “land mines,” and the senator reassured him it did not, according to a person familiar with the call.

Ultimately, Mr. Trump was persuaded to sign the bipartisan spending measure after all, and at least some close to the president doubted that he was ever really wavering and instead was just enjoying the suspense.

But Mr. McConnell chose not to take a chance, rushing to the floor and interrupting a colleague’s speech to announce Mr. Trump’s decision, in effect locking it in before he could change his mind.

In agreeing to end the spending fight for now, however, Mr. Trump essentially started a new one with his vow to declare a national emergency, one that crosses party and ideological lines as liberals and conservatives alike objected to what they called presidential overreach.

Seven Senate Democrats, including four announced or possible presidential candidates, immediately introduced legislation intended to block Mr. Trump from diverting money from disaster relief for the wall. Some House Democrats, including Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, began endorsing a joint resolution to essentially nullify a national emergency declaration.

A parade of liberal advocacy organizations sent out pre-written statements promising to challenge any such declaration in court as “an outrageous abuse of power” by an “unstable and increasingly autocratic” president, as one of the groups, Public Citizen, put it.

“The president is doing an end run around Congress,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California told reporters. She suggested that Mr. Trump was setting a precedent for future Democratic presidents to act on issues like gun control — precisely the scenario that scares Republicans.

“You want to talk about a national emergency, let’s talk about today,” Ms. Pelosi said, reminding Mr. Trump that it was the anniversary of the shooting massacre last February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Seventeen students and staff members were killed. “That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would.”

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, echoed her criticism and said Congress would defend its prerogatives. “The public was more opposed to the emergency declaration than they were to the wall,” he said in a brief interview. “And they were opposed to the wall.”

About a half-dozen Senate Republicans quickly spoke out against the move, as well. “I don’t think this is a matter that should be declared a national emergency,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. “We as legislators are trying to address the president’s priority. What we’re voting on now is perhaps an imperfect solution, but it’s one we could get consensus on.”

Senator Susan Collins of Maine said such a declaration was “of dubious constitutionality,” while Senator Marco Rubio of Florida called it “a bad idea.” Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said, “We have a government that has a Constitution that has a division of power, and revenue raising and spending power was given to Congress.”

Still, other Republicans backed Mr. Trump, including an ally, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, as well as Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who faces re-election next year. “He feels that declaring a national emergency gives him that flexibility that he wants and needs, so I’m supportive of that,” Ms. Capito said of the president.

“For goodness’ sake, we tried for 35 days in December and January, right, to get the Democrats to do what everyone knows needs to happen except Democrats,” said Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio. “I support the national emergency declaration 100 percent.”

Among the Republicans who privately warned Mr. Trump against an emergency declaration was Mr. McConnell, who expects that House Democrats will pass a nonbinding resolution disapproving it in a form that the Republican leader cannot block from a floor vote. At least five or six Republican senators are likely to vote against the president, making a majority along with the Democrats.

A person familiar with the discussions said that Mr. McConnell said that he has warned Mr. Trump that he has less than two weeks to try to persuade wavering Republicans to support his national emergency effort, otherwise he will face the prospect of a bipartisan rebuke by Congress.

The spending legislation that passed on Thursday drew strong bipartisan votes in a Congress that has been deeply divided along party lines. In the House, 213 Democrats and 87 Republicans voted yes, meaning that Democrats were unable to pass it by themselves because they lost 19 of their own. Most Republicans, 109 in all, voted no.

Ms. Pelosi, using nearly a dozen pens to sign the final bill, applauded the bipartisan majority, calling it “quite a remarkable show.”

In the Senate, most of the 16 no votes were by Republicans, along with four Democratic presidential candidates — Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

The package includes the seven remaining bills to keep the remainder of the government open through the rest of the fiscal year at the end of September. House and Senate negotiators unveiled the 1,159-page bill on Wednesday just before midnight, leaving little time for lawmakers to actually digest its contents.

The border security compromise tucked into the bill is perhaps the most stinging legislative defeat of Mr. Trump’s presidency. It provides $1.375 billion for 55 miles of steel-post fencing, essentially the same deal that Mr. Trump rejected in December, triggering the shutdown, and far from the $5.7 billion he demanded for more than 200 miles of steel or concrete wall.

The measure prohibits construction in certain areas along the Rio Grande Valley and includes a provision, pushed by Representative Henry Cuellar, Democrat of Texas, granting communities on the border time to weigh in on the location and design of the fencing.

The bill also prohibits funds from being used to keep lawmakers from visiting and inspecting Department of Homeland Security detention centers, following a number of highly publicized instances where Democratic lawmakers tried to visit detention centers and were turned away.

Lawmakers were drawn by the other six parts of the spending package that finance a number of agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, which is in the middle of tax-filing season, and the Commerce Department. Allocations include $77 million to address the opioid epidemic, as well as money for natural disasters, including nearly $4 billion to wild-land fire programs and $12.6 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund.

The package also negates an executive order that Mr. Trump signed to freeze pay for federal civilian workers, and instead extends a 1.9 percent pay increase. Vice President Mike Pence, cabinet officials and other high-level political appointees will receive raises of about $10,000 a year that had been frozen during the shutdown.

Negotiators failed to resolve other matters, including back pay for federal contractors caught in the middle of the shutdown and an extension of the Violence Against Women Act, which expires Friday — although grants under the act are funded in the spending bill.

Mr. Trump’s aides have told him he can add to the $1.375 billion by reallocating money from other related programs using his traditional discretion but a national emergency would allow him to access even more money. Exactly how that would work was still being debated; there were multiple drafts of the emergency order circulating within the government this week.

A Defense Department official said one likely scenario would be to divert up to $2.5 billion in counternarcotics funds to the Army Corps of Engineers. The administration would then transfer existing federal land along the border to the Defense Department and acquire or condemn private land.

The Army Corps could then go ahead and build a wall or other barrier to secure the Defense Department’s property using the newly diverted funds. Dozens of miles of barrier could be built this way, according to the official, who asked not to be identified discussing alternatives before the White House was ready to disclose a specific plan.

Legal experts have said Mr. Trump can muster serious arguments that he can take declare a national emergency under current law, but it would almost surely prompt a court challenge from critics arguing that he is usurping two centuries of congressional control over spending.

Under Article I of the Constitution, Congress has the power to appropriate funds. “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law,” it says.

But Congress has passed laws in the past providing presidents with authority in national emergencies, laws that remain on the books. Indeed, 31 national emergencies declared by Mr. Trump and his predecessors remain active.

Legal challenges could ultimately lead to a confrontation at the Supreme Court. The court is led by a five-member conservative majority, but it has shown skepticism of presidential excesses in recent years, reining in both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama when the justices concluded they had overstepped their authority.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/us/politics/trump-national-emergency-border.html
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Type: Discussion • Score: 12 • Views: 968 • Replies: 31

 
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maporsche
 
  3  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 07:49 am
I would be happy to see some power stripped from the executive branch.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  3  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 09:08 am
Although, there are a lot of national emergencies that could be declared by the next Democratic President. Guns. Climate. Healthcare. Taxes. Immigration. Poverty. Homelessness. Social security. Pretty much all of the Democratic platform could be rebranded into an emergency.

Maybe Trump is on to something.

I’ll rethink my initial reaction to this.
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 09:27 am
Plump is playing a smoke and mirrors game with executive powers. The constitution does not make the executive (whom the framers called the chief magistrate) powerful. Congress still holds the purse strings. The history of presidential power is in so many cases the history of what the incumbent can get away with. Strictly speaking, the president can simply not disburse monies appropriated by Congress, but he or she cannot rob Peter to pay Paul. The money has to come from somewhere, and resort to federal court can tie the incumbent's hands, as was the case with Plump's bullshit about immigration from selected nations. We'll see what happens, and in the end, about all Plump would be able to do is rob the Corps of Engineers to build his moronic wall. He might be able to rob the military, but Congress has historically been very specific about what appropriations can be spent on.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  3  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 09:29 am
In 2 years before the next election Trump will be lucky to have built even 2 miles of wall.

This national emergency precedent is something that, if the public supports these kinds of executive actions and the court backs them up...well it’s something that can be used to get a lot of what I want done.

I think this court case and the possibilities that it opens up for the issues I care about is well worth 2 miles of fencing.
0 Replies
 
bunnyhabit
 
  3  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 09:43 am
More theatrical than sane as court will immediately block as assumption of the legislative branches exclusive authority
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 10:11 am
It's a win-win for Trump

He either gets the money or he gets to tell his base that he did everything he possibly could.

I don't believe he will win in court.

Finn dAbuzz
 
  -3  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 10:12 am
@bunnyhabit ,
If theatrics are a sign of insanity, the Democrats are all raving lunatics.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 10:58 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

It's a win-win for Trump

He either gets the money or he gets to tell his base that he did everything he possibly could.

I don't believe he will win in court.


Actually... it is win-win-win.

This makes it much easier for a future Democratic president to address the things that their base feel are critically important.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  -2  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 12:31 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
This makes it much easier for a future Democratic president to address the things that their base feel are critically important.


No, because he won't win in the courts and even if he does Congress will change the statute.
maporsche
 
  5  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 01:26 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I don’t know. I would not be the least bit surprised if the current court granted more power to the executive branch. And to rely on Congress to do anything is never a sure thing.

It’s a dangerous game he’s playing I think.
oralloy
 
  -4  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 03:36 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
This makes it much easier for a future Democratic president to address the things that their base feel are critically important.
Except we aren't going to see another Democratic president for at least the next 18 years, if not even longer.

Even after another 18 years of Republican rule, the voters will not consent to elect another Democrat until the the Democrats purge their party of extremists and nominate a sensible moderate.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  -3  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 03:38 pm
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:
Although, there are a lot of national emergencies that could be declared by the next Democratic President. Guns. Climate. Healthcare. Taxes. Immigration. Poverty. Homelessness. Social security. Pretty much all of the Democratic platform could be rebranded into an emergency.
Maybe Trump is on to something.
I’ll rethink my initial reaction to this.
A future Democratic president could use this precedent to shift funds around. But the courts will never allow the Democrats to violate people's civil liberties for fun, so our guns are safe.
maporsche
 
  5  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 06:05 pm
@oralloy,
Building this wall (or fence really) would require federal seizure of private citizens land and property.

If that’s declared constitutional, and those citizens would have their property stolen from them based on some fake executive emergency. I wouldn’t be too sure about your precious guns.
oralloy
 
  -4  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2019 06:08 pm
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:
Building this wall (or fence really) would require federal seizure of private citizens land and property.
If that’s declared constitutional, and those citizens would have their property stolen from them based on some fake executive emergency.
The courts will ensure that they receive compensation.

maporsche wrote:
I wouldn’t be too sure about your precious guns.
There is no danger. The courts are not going to allow the Democrats to violate people's civil liberties.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2019 09:50 am
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:

Building this wall (or fence really) would require federal seizure of private citizens land and property.

If that’s declared constitutional, and those citizens would have their property stolen from them based on some fake executive emergency. I wouldn’t be too sure about your precious guns.


If it's declared constitutional it will be based on a declaration that there is a national emergency consistent with the statutory wording.
0 Replies
 
revelette1
 
  3  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2019 10:21 am
@oralloy,
It would be small compensation for a person to have to abandon their homes and lands they have lived on, in some cases, generations. Besides I doubt there would be equal compensation; talk about needless expense which will more than likely come from the Pentagon or some other place in which the money is needed way more.

Fortunately, the whole thing will be tied up in courts for years more than likely. Hopefully, we Americans are not so stupid as to vote again Trump in enough numbers to win in 2020 and the thing will still be tied up in courts. I even wish for a republican run against Trump in 2020 to take votes away from him. But they ain't got the courage.

He is a nut case.

It was a fine day for a national emergency
0 Replies
 
revelette1
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2019 10:28 am
@maporsche,
Quote:
I don’t know. I would not be the least bit surprised if the current court granted more power to the executive branch. And to rely on Congress to do anything is never a sure thing.


agreed
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2019 01:01 pm
@revelette1,
Well, then conservatives have nothing to worry about, because if a Dem POTUS tries a stunt like this the "young" USSC will smack him or her down.
 

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