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Democrats Move To Disapprove Trump Wall Emergency

OAC on national emergency
House Democrats plan to file a resolution today seeking to block President Trump's emergency declaration aimed at securing funds for building a border wall.

Richard Gonzales of NPR reports the "resolution of disapproval," will be led by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas.

Castro’s resolution received the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who endorsed it in a letter sent to lawmakers in both parties.

"I write to invite all Members of Congress to cosponsor Congressman Joaquin Castro's privileged resolution to terminate this emergency declaration," Pelosi wrote according to Gonzales’ reporting, adding that the House will "move swiftly to pass this bill."

"The President's decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated," she added.

Approval of the resolution is widely expected in the Democratic-controlled House reported Gonzales. A vote by the full House is expected in mid-March. If the House passes the resolution, then the GOP-controlled Senate would be required to take it up.

The National Emergencies Act of 1976 sets a strict timeline for review and congressional disapproval of presidential declarations of national emergency.

In 1976, when the Act was passed, there were nearly 500 emergency-related statutes on the books, reported Tamara Keith of NPR. The Declarations granted the president special powers when he declared a national emergency but with little ability for Congress to constrain the president. The National Emergencies Act cut those way back. It required the president to specify which emergency authorities he intended to invoke once the emergency was declared. It required those emergencies to be renewed on a regular basis. And it created a fast-track mechanism for Congress to terminate a presidential emergency.

If the Democrat-controlled House were to pass it, reports Ms. Keith, the Republican-controlled Senate would have no choice but to vote on it under the law. Several Republican senators have been cautioning the president not to put them in that position.

And even if a resolution of disapproval were to pass, President Trump could still veto it.

If Congress votes to disapprove President Trump's declaration of a national emergency, Trump is prepared to veto it, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller said on Sunday.

The president declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday to secure up to $8 billion in funding for a barrier on the southern border — more than four times what Congress approved. House Democrats have called Trump's declaration "unlawful," and are considering a joint resolution disapproving of the declaration. Miller's comments during a Fox News interview made it clear the president is unlikely to back down.

"If they pass a resolution of disapproval, will the president veto that, which would be the first veto of his presidency?" Fox News host Chris Wallace asked.

"Well, obviously, the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration," Miller responded.

"So, yes, he would veto?" Wallace pressed.

"He's going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed," Miller said according to reporting by Matthew S. Schwartz of NPR’s news desk.

If President Trump vetoes the resolution, Congress would need a two-thirds majority in both houses to override — unlikely, given the current political makeup of the chambers observed Mr. Schwartz. If Congress were unable to override a Trump veto, Democrat Senator Tammy Duckworth said the House should sue based on the argument that only Congress has the power to appropriate funds.

So far, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is the only Republican to voice support for a resolution to block President Trump's emergency declaration to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Collins, speaking to reporters in Maine, said she would support a resolution of disapproval that was focused on the emergency declaration, which she has described as being of "dubious constitutionality."

“If it’s a ‘clean’ disapproval resolution, I will support it,” she told reporters, according to The Associated Press and reporting by The Hill’s Jordain Carney.

President Trump’s emergency declaration is also already facing several outside legal challenges, including one promised by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra arguing that the state will be harmed when Trump diverts funds for a wall reported NPR’s Schwartz.

We urge CHQ readers and friends to call your Senators and Representatives TODAY. The toll-free Capitol Switchboard is (1-866-220-0044) tell them there is a national emergency on our southern border. Tell them you support President Trump’s call for a wall on our southern border and the President was right to use his Article II constitutional authority to declare a national emergency and have the Pentagon build the wall and other needed security enhancements on our southern border.

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