In the midst of the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history, President Trump announced on Friday during a press appearance that he would consider declaring a national emergency to procure funds for the border wall.
1/4th of the US government has been shut down since December 22nd of last year. Over 800,000 federal employees have been affected due to congressional Democrats refusal to approve funding for the border wall. Leading Democrats have called the wall immoral, ineffective, and too expensive.
In theory, declaring a state of emergency should allow Trump to bypass any congressional oversight and use funds from the Pentagon to construct a barrier along the country’s southern border with Mexico.
While most Democrats have outright rejected the notion, prominent Democrats like the new chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee have stated that declaring a national emergency as a way to construct a border wall is technically within his power, but would likely be met with a legal challenge.
“I can do it if I want – absolutely,” the President said, insisting that he doesn’t require approval from Congress to begin construction of the wall. “We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly.”
Funding the wall by declaring a national emergency would effectively eliminate the main point of disagreement with Congress, and thus would clear the way to end the government shutdown and resume paying affected federal workers.
On Monday, Trump tweeted that he plans to address the country on Tuesday night with respect to the humanitarian and national security crisis along the southern border.
Also on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence told journalists that Trump has yet to make a final decision on whether he will declare a national emergency. He added that the White House counsel’s office is currently examining the legality of such a declaration.
In the event that President Trump does call a national emergency, Congress, with a joint resolution could effectively end it. Similarly to the way a bill is passed, a joint resolution requires the approval of both the House and Senate.
The precise definition of a national emergency is open to interpretation; however, it’s usually defined as an event that threatens the security of U.S. citizens. In the past, leaders have invoked emergency powers to deal with natural disasters and acute crises that require immediate attention and action. A national emergency was called after the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001.
While the ongoing crisis at the southern border isn’t exactly on par with the events of 9/11, it’s still a crisis nonetheless. The drugs, addiction, crime, and strain on social services that have resulted due to the porous US-Mexico border surely constitutes a nationwide crisis that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. If Democrats aren’t willing to address the crisis then Trump should do everything in his power to address it on his own. If he does, he certainly will be rewarded for it in 2020.
Written by: Mr. Anderson