Congressmen address president’s declaration bypassing Congress to fund border wall
President Donald Trump is ready to issue the first veto of his term if Congress votes to disapprove his declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, a top White House advisor said Sunday. On developments in the political fight over Trump’s campaign for what has grown to $8 billion for a border wall, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning said he doesn’t see Congress even getting to vote.
“It won’t even get through Congress,” Reed said in an interview Monday with WBEN NewsRadio out of Buffalo. “This is all about political theater, continuing the politicization of Congress. ... I don’t even see it coming to the Senate floor.”
“We shouldn’t be doing business this way,” said Reed, adding “Congress over the years has delegated so much authority to the executive branch and the president’s office.”
Reed noted during the interview that "the legal arguments are there" for the president to take the action he has taken — “but this is just letting Congress off the hook, and Congress should be the one leading this spending package that we are talking about.”
Last week, both houses agreed to a spending package that ended Trump’s threat of another partial government shutdown over billions for the wall, on the heels of the recent 35-day shutdown.
Reed, whose district covers part of the Finger Lakes region including the eastern portion of Ontario County including Geneva, said he was against shutting down the government and advocated for the president putting continued pressure on Congress, keeping negotiators in the room until they reached agreement.
Also addressing Trump’s emergency declaration is U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence — whose western New York district includes the western part of Ontario County including Canandaigua anc Victor. Backing Trump’s move, Collins said in an interview with News 10NBC's affiliate in Buffalo, WGRZ. that the president is well within his power to shift funding towards the border wall.
Trump’s declared national emergency shifts billions of federal dollars earmarked for military construction to the border. It faces a slew of challenges from lawmakers and in the courts. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told ABC’s “This Week” that his state would sue “imminently” to block the order, after the American Civil Liberties Union and the nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen announced Friday they were taking legal action.
Democrats are planning to introduce a resolution disapproving of the declaration once Congress returns to session, and several Republican senators are already indicating they would vote against Trump — though there do not yet appear to be enough votes to override a veto by the president.
White House adviser Stephen Miller insisted that Congress granted the president wide berth under the National Emergencies Act to take action. But Trump’s declaration goes beyond previous emergencies in shifting money after Congress blocked his funding request for the wall, which will likely factor in legal challenges.
Collins insists presidents have used the power for decades.
"It's not a new precedent. I mean, 60-plus emergency declarations ... movements of monies is always something the president can do within a department,” said Collins. "This really isn't anything new, but the Democrats are gonna certainly bring this up."
Collins expects a lower court to rule against Trump, but thinks the Supreme Court will ultimately back him up.
Includes reporting by The Associated Press