Trump backs future changes to National Emergencies Act

Written by on March 14, 2019

President Trump on Thursday threw his support behind future efforts by Congress, though not a current one, to change the federal law granting the president authority to declare national emergencies.

“Prominent legal scholars agree that our actions to address the National Emergency at the Southern Border and to protect the American people are both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress,” Trump said in a pair of tweets. “If, at a later date, Congress wants to update the law, I will support those efforts, but today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!”

Even so, Trump is rejecting an existing GOP-backed proposal to curb his emergency decree power, suggesting he wants to keep the focus currently on his efforts to build a border wall.

The president’s tweets come after he rejected Wednesday legislation from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that would rein in the president’s power to declare a national emergency.

Lee’s bill, introduced Tuesday, would automatically end all future emergency declarations made under the National Emergencies Act after 30 days unless Congress extended it. Under current law, Congress can only nullify an emergency declaration if it passes a resolution that can endure a presidential veto.

Senate Republicans floated a deal under which they would support Trump’s emergency declaration to build the border wall in exchange for a promise from the president to sign Lee’s bill, highlighting the precarious position of GOP senators who don’t want to risk crossing Trump.

The Senate on Thursday will vote on a resolution of disapproval that would block Trump’s Feb. 15 emergency declaration, which allows him to circumvent Congress to divert money to build the wall.

The president has argued the emergency declaration is about national security and ending a humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Voting for the resolution of disapproval, he tweeted, is “a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!”

But Democrats and several Senate Republicans have expressed concerns with the constitutionality of Trump’s action, as well as the precedent it sets for future White Houses. The Senate is expected to pass the resolution, which already passed the House, with bipartisan support in a rebuff of the president’s order.

Trump, however, has vowed to veto the measure, which would be the first of his presidency. It’s unlikely there are enough votes in Congress to override the veto.

Under the emergency declaration, $3.6 billion from the Defense Department’s military construction fund would be redirected to pay for construction of the border wall.

The president’s order was swiftly challenged in federal court by a slew of states and organizations that argued the move was unconstitutional.

Source: Washington Examiner – Congress

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