Emergency declaration for border wall likely to fail in Congress

President Trump signed an emergency declaration in order to make $3.6 million available to build a border wall.

With the declaration, he hopes to have the authority to move military construction money to fund the border project.

However, the House voted to block the declaration on the grounds that the president is attempting to go around Congress and fund a project that they had rejected.

The constitution designates the legislative branch (Congress) as co-equal to the executive branch (the president), and as having the power of the purse, or the power to allocate money for projects.

But, legislation also grants the president broad power to act in the face of a national emergency, including the ability to re-distribute funds as necessary.

The vote goes to the Senate next.

All 47 Democratic senators are expected to vote against the emergency declaration, as well as at least four Republican senators, giving the Senate the simple majority it needs to reject the President’s declaration.

if the Senate votes against the emergency declaration

President Trump can veto the Congressional vote, and continue with his emergency declaration.

The Congress will then have an opportunity to override the veto, which would require a 2/3 vote–a threshold that (at least right now) seems unlikely considering the number of Republicans currently supporting the declaration.

The courts will also have a say in the declaration, as lawsuits have already been filed by 16 states.

some background

President Trump refused to sign a bill that included about $1.3 million for border fencing, prompting a 35-day government shutdown.

He wanted $5.7 billion but as the shutdown dragged on, he agreed to the Democrat’s offer, while hinting that he would declare a national emergency to build the wall.

funding bill that’s already been passed

In addition to $1.3 million for border fencing, the funding bill (that re-opened the government) allocates $560 million for drug inspection at ports of entry, and for 600 more Customs and Border Protection officers.

$563.4 million will go to 75 additional immigration judge teams to help move along asylum hearings.

$415 million is designated for humanitarian relief including medical care, transportation and food for migrants.

The Coast Guard, the Secret Service and the Transportation Security Administration will also receive funding increases and money for new equipment.

Should we leave the emergency declaration in place, build the wall and support the president? Or should the emergency declaration be shut down by Congress? Let’s take a look.

And, what is the National Emergencies Act and how has it been used by previous presidents? Geek out on it here.

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