Trump and His National Emergency

What happens if Trump declares border crisis a national emergency? | Fox News [2019-01-05]

President Donald Trump: ‘I Could’ Declare National Emergency For Border Wall Funding | NBC News [2019-01-04]

With the U.S. government’s partial shutdown now in its third week, Donald Trump says he is considering declaring a national emergency in order to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall he campaigned on. Trump met on Friday, January 4, with senior Democrats, who continued to refuse his demand for federal funding for the wall, which, according to Trump, is a condition for Trump’s supporting funding to re-open the government. The government shutdown occurred as a result of the failure of lawmakers and Trump to reach an agreement in December on a budget bill.

When asked whether he had considered using his presidential authority to declare a state of national emergency in order to bypass Congress’ approval for funding a border wall, Trump said, “I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly. That’s another way of doing it.”

Budget experts, however, say that Trump would still need for funds to be allocated by Congress, even if he could declare a national emergency.

Though a bill for funds to re-open the government passed the House on Thursday, January 3, it can’t take effect unless the GOP-controlled Senate also passes it. Senate leader Mitch McConnell has said that Republicans will not back a bill without Trump’s support.

Meanwhile, roughly 25 percent of federal government operations remain un-funded. The departments of Justice, Housing, Homeland Security, Commerce, Agriculture, the Interior, and the Treasury are heavily impacted, and national parks, left unstaffed, have begun to be hazardous to visitors. Approximately 800,000 federal employees are either furloughed, or continue to work without pay.

Many lawmakers and legal experts say that Trump does not have the authority to declare a state of national emergency in order to build a border wall.

Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif), said, “Look, if Harry Truman couldn’t nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn’t have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion-dollar wall on the border.”

Adam Smith, incoming House Armed Services Committee chair, said Trump may have the authority, but that it would be challenged. “In this case, I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge saying, ‘Where is the emergency?’ …You have to establish that in order to do this.”

On the other hand, Trump has said the partial government shutdown could go on “for a very long time,” perhaps even years.

“If we don’t find a solution,” said Trump, “It’s going to go on for a long time. There’s not going to be any bend right here.”

With that said, if Trump has the authority to declare a state of national emergency in order to fund and build his border wall, one might wonder why he doesn’t just go ahead and do it.

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