As President Donald Trump inches closer and closer toward possibly declaring an official national emergency in order to secure funds for his border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, lawmakers from both major political parties in Congress are coming together with plans to challenge the move.
The border wall dispute is the central issue that led to and kept portions of the government shut down. Democratic leaders in Congress and Trump have not been able to compromise on re-opening the government, as the president has said he would refuse to sign any bill that reaches his desk that doesn’t have funds appropriated for the construction of the barrier.
Issuing a declaration of a national emergency on immigration at the southern border is seen by this president as one way to end the impasse. “[I]f for any reason we don’t get this going, I will declare a national emergency,” Trump said earlier in the week.
But even members of his own party see it as a foolish and dangerous idea, according to reporting from Quartz.
Democratic and Republican members of the Armed Services Committee, which oversees the funds that Trump would attempt to use to build the wall, are steadfast in their resolve to oppose the hijacking of funds from the Army Corps of Engineers that Trump might attempt to take away.
Lawmakers still want to see what the declaration, if it comes about, looks like, examining “how [Trump] writes it, and how he does it,” according to Rep. Donald Norcross (D-New Jersey), who sits on the committee. Norcross added he is “very confident there will be a legal challenge.”
“There needs to be,” he added.
"The National Emergency Act of 1976 does not give the president unreviewable discretion to decide however he chooses whether an emergency exists," argues Bob Bauer: https://t.co/du6FJbb3lT
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) January 11, 2019
Democrats aren’t the only ones concerned, however, as GOP members of the committee are also showing wariness to support a declaration of a national emergency.
“We ought to fund border security needs on their own and not be taking it from other accounts,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee.
The administration is reportedly looking at moving almost $14 billion from Army Corps projects designed to help areas impacted by natural disasters, including billions from Puerto Rico and Texas, CNN reported earlier in the week.
Trump isn’t getting a complete rebuttal from members of his own party, however, as some influential names have demonstrated they would back him up if he declared an emergency.
“Declare emergency, build the wall now,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) wrote in a tweet on Thursday.