President Donald Trump swore on Thursday that he would declare a national emergency in a surprising attempt to fund his proposed US-Mexico border wall without the support of the Congress. This decision could have serious repercussions as it would certainly pull him into a constitutional faceoff with the Congress.
Though he conceded defeat in his attempts to receive funding for his wall, he agreed to sign a government funding bill that lacks money for the wall. He had requested the Congress for a total of $5.7 billion in wall money but was turned down. This agreement that he would sign will prevent a future government shutdown.
The bill was passed with great enthusiasm by both the US Senate and House of Representatives on Thursday. It covers the expenses for building the fences and other forms of security. However, it completely ignores the wall. Earlier in 2016, Trump had argued in his election campaigns that Mexico would bear the expenses of the wall as they also needed to block the illegal drug trafficking.
Congress’s Chances to Stop Trump’s Emergency Move
The National Emergencies Act has a clause that empowers Congress to stop the emergency status in case both houses vote for it and if the president does not veto against it.
Since the Democrats have a sizeable majority in the House, it is quite possible that they could pass this resolution to the Senate. Even though Republicans control the state, several of them have been voicing their disapproval of the latest move by the president
“The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders commented in a statement on Thursday.
She said Mr. Trump would “take other executive action – including a national emergency – to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.”
The compromise legislation was approved through an 83-16 vote in the Senate conducted on Thursday. Later, The House of Representatives also supported the cause in a 300 to 128 vote.
This package comprises of $1.3bn in funding for security of the border. It included physical borders but not the wall as proposed by Donald Trump. He has requested an amount of $5.7billion for this.
Responses by Democrats
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer expressed their strong disapproval through a combined statement. “Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall,” read the statement.
“He couldn’t convince Mexico, the American people or their elected representatives to pay for his ineffective and expensive wall, so now he’s trying an end-run around Congress in a desperate attempt to put taxpayers on the hook for it.”
The National Emergency would allow the President special powers and frees him from the usual formalities of getting the approval of Congress for the funds.