President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the US-Mexico border without congressional approval, an action Democrats vowed to challenge as a violation of the US Constitution.
The Republican president’s move to circumvent Congress represented an escalation in his efforts to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a wall to halt the flow into the country of illegal immigrants, who Trump says bring crime and drugs.
Hours after Trump’s announcement, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee said it had launched an investigation into the emergency declaration.
Protect Democracy is standing by to file a lawsuit to halt Trump’s theft of $6.7 billion dollars. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro is ready with a resolution to end Trump’s declaration in Congress. One or both of these may fail.
However, Trump is said to be prepared to veto anything that reaches his desk. But there’s little doubt that court actions will keep Trump’s attempt tied up for months and prevent any actual construction on the border. In fact, it may well confuse the situation enough that the fencing authorized by Congress in legislation is also put on hold.
To get his money, Trump will take money from the Department of Defense from funds that were requested by the Pentagon and approved by Congress. These are funds that were earmarked not just for addressing emergencies, but for building military infrastructure.
His advisers are accusing him of stealing classrooms and homes from military families, taking hospital beds away from veterans. And he’s taking money from proven, effective programs to interdict drugs to fund a boondoggle that every expert agrees will not address the issue. What’s very likely to happen is that Trump will not get his wall, but that effective programs will be wrecked in the process.
The National Emergency Act was intended to deal with emergencies. As in situations that hit so fast, such as the events on 9/11, that some response is required before Congress can convene. What the authors of the act never even contemplated was a situation in which the executive branch might use the National Emergency Act to simply overrule the outcome of negotiations within the legislative branch.