Pelosi Could File Legal Challenge if Trump Declares National Emergency

Pearl Mccarthy
February 15, 2019

The White House says President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency and take other executive action to allow construction of the president's long-promised southern border wall, after bipartisan congressional negotiations provided less than a quarter of the $5.7 billion Trump wanted to start building more than 200 miles of wall.

"The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country", she said in a statement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in brief remarks after the White House announcement warned that a future Democratic president could use the precedent of declaring a national emergency for other purposes, such as gun control, citing the anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting that left 17 dead.

The almost 1,200 page legislation would fund nine Cabinet departments and dozens of other agencies through September 30. The compromise provides for $1.375 billion for 55 miles of border fencing, which is less than the deal previous year that forced the shutdown.

"This agreement denies funding for President Trump's border wall and includes several key measures to make our immigration system more humane", House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Last year, the partial government shutdown that started days before Christmas broke records for being the longest in USA history-a total of 35 days. Asked if she would file a legal challenge to the emergency declaration, she responded, "I may". Many of Congress' most liberal members were expected to oppose it, unwilling to yield an inch to Trump's anti-immigrant policies, while staunch conservatives preferred a bill that would go further.

During an interview on Fox News with Shannon Bream, Graham urged the president to sign the deal to keep the government open.

Facing opposition from Trump, Democrats lost their bid to include language giving federal contractors back pay for wages lost during the last shutdown.

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Congressional aides say there is $21 billion in military construction money that could potentially be used by Trump if he declares a national emergency.

A source familiar with the situation said the White House had identified $US2.7 billion in funds previously provided by Congress that could be redirected to barrier funding as part of a national emergency. Unless Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer can convince enough Republicans to cross the aisle, the courts may be the only recourse available to the Democrats.

"It's important to note that when President declares this emergency, first of all, it's not an emergency", Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. The constitution allots the power of the purse uniquely to Congress. She said emergency powers are meant to give the president flexibility when Congress doesn't have time to act in the face of an emergency and aren't meant to circumvent the will of Congress. French said it's a "stretch" to think that the military is needed at the border. Lawmakers are begging the president to sign the bill and avoid another government shutdown.

"When the president invents an emergency in order to fund a project that Congress has explicitly declined to fund, that's an effort to undermine the constitutional allocation of powers", she wrote in the post, which was updated January 31.

But McConnell also said Trump would quickly declare a national emergency.

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has said there are various accounts available.

"He's prepared to sign the bill, he will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time", McConnell said.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would support Trump on the emergency.

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