Last week, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to bypass Congress and access funding for a border wall at the southern border.
Past presidents dating back to Jimmy Carter have declared national emergencies for various reasons.
The difference is Trump’s is the first national emergency in which a president circumvented Congress to spend money despite the legislative branch refusing to fund the border wall.
This breach of the separation of powers is a dangerous precedent for succeeding years, and something that congressional Republicans seem to be aware of.
All bills on government spending are supposed to originate in the House of Representatives, according to the U.S. Constitution.
The Democrat controlled House rejected to fund Trump’s border wall.
It seems as though the president’s ego is bruised, and he did not want to enter the 2020 election season without one of his biggest campaign promises — the wall on the southern border of Mexico.
Why is it an emergency now?
Why couldn’t Trump get funding when his party controlled both chambers of Congress for two years?
The answer is: it’s not a real emergency.
Illegal border crossings have dropped significantly since 2000, according to the New York Times and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In 2005, more than 1.2 million people were apprehended at the border; in 2017, about 400,000 were stopped, according to the report.
Trump himself undermined the necessity for the wall.
“I didn’t need to do this,” Trump said. “But I’d rather do it much faster. I just want to get it done faster, that’s all.”
We are about to see the Trump administration enter a long legal battle.
My hope is that federal courts take Trump’s own words and use them against him.
Congress can also block this national emergency declaration.
This will easily pass in the House of Representatives.
The burden will be on Senate Republicans, who will be forced to show their true beliefs on the necessity of the border wall.
Senators like Marco Rubio have already said that an emergency declaration would be a terrible idea.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly has told President Trump not to declare an emergency because it might split the GOP, according to the Washington Post.
The Post said that McConnell pointed out Trump could possibly face the first veto of his presidency, which could be overridden by two-thirds of Congress.
National emergencies need to be used for real emergencies — not manufactured ones solely used to bypass Congress to further a political agenda.