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.

U.S. Government Greets Partial Shutdown for the Holidays

The U.S. slides into Christmas with a partial government shutdown, which began at just after midnight on Saturday morning, December 22, and may continue into the New Year. The partial shutdown is a result of the inability of representatives in Congress to reach an agreement with each other and with Donald Trump regarding his demands to fund a border wall. By Saturday, many House and Senate lawmakers had left town for the holidays, so a new vote is not likely in the near future. Fingers are pointing on both sides as to who is to blame for the partial shutdown.

Trump had said the previous week, on December 11, when a shutdown seemed a little less likely, that he would “own” a shutdown if it occurred. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck (speaking to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer). … I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

On December 19, the Senate passed a bill that seemed amenable to Trump and that looked as if it would prevent a shutdown, at least through February. In an apparent reversal on December 20, however, Trump said he wouldn’t sign the bill, after all, and that he won’t sign any bill that doesn’t include his required $5 billion to fund his border wall.

The House was then set to pass a spending deal with Trump’s required $5 billion for the border wall, but without Senate Democrats’ votes, the bill won’t pass in the Senate. On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate would not take more votes until all sides could agree on a deal.

“When those negotiations produce a solution that is acceptable to all of those parties,” said McConnell, “It will receive a vote here on the Senate floor.”

On Friday, December 21, after previously declaring that he would “own” a shutdown, Trump did a turnaround tweet: “The Democrats now own the shutdown!”

In a video posted to Twitter, Trump said, “We’re going to have a shutdown. There’s nothing we can do about that because we need the Democrats to give us their votes. Call it a Democrat shutdown, call it whatever you want, but we need their help to get this approved.”

Though Trump blames the current partial shutdown on the Democrats, Senate Democrats did support the bill that passed on December 19, and that appeared to have Trump’s support, until he flip-flopped.

As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi points out, “Democrats are for real border security solutions. Not for wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on an immoral, ineffective & expensive wall.”

Though government shutdowns have happened under other administrations, they are not common, especially under an administration in which one party controls all three branches. This, however, is the third shutdown in less than a year.

Partial government shutdown to continue through Christmas | Fox News [2018-12-24]

Day one of partial federal shutdown: Things go ‘from bad to worse’ |
PBS News Hour [2018-12-22]