GOP plan would limit power to declare emergency

Leroy Wright
March 14, 2019

President Donald Trump is lobbying Republican senators to vote against legislation that would block his declaration of an emergency along the U.S. -Mexico border. "The House will not take up this legislation to give President Trump a pass".

It's long looked like the Republican-run Senate would join the Democratic-led House in voting to block Trump's declaration. Trump declared an emergency last month to divert $3.6 billion from military construction projects to build border barriers after Congress voted to provide him with less than $1.4 billion for barrier construction. He announced later that he would be voting for the resolution to terminate the declaration.

By late Tuesday, there were indications that GOP opposition to Trump's emergency along the Mexican border was softening.

Vice President Mike Pence met with Republican senators this week to push Lee's plan, saying Trump would support it.

Republican senators and the White House hatched a plan Tuesday to try and push an alternative bill to the disapproval resolution now before the upper chamber of Congress.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a constitutional lawyer and a freshman senator, came out in favor of President Trump's move to secure the border through the National Emergencies Act.

Murkowski said in an interview that she would consider backing legislation "that actually does constrain" the president's emergency powers, but added, "At this point in time, we don't have it".

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Paul said earlier this month that there were "at least 10" GOP senators prepared to oppose Trump's emergency.

"They'd like to win and short of that they don't want a jailbreak" with large numbers of Republicans defecting, Sen.

Republicans who oppose the national emergency are anxious that future Democratic presidents could usurp the power of Congress to fund the government and use the tactic to pass their own pet programs.

Schakowsky said, "We need to get rid of Donald Trump and I don't think impeaching in the House is going to do it and so we need to do it by the 2020 election". The resolution requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress to override a veto.

Republicans have also voiced concerns about the precedent that could be set for future Democratic presidents to declare national emergencies on any number of issues.

Democrats and some Republicans say Trump was abusing the emergency law by issuing a declaration to access money Congress had explicitly voted to deny him. If Trump would commit to signing a bill that would handcuff future emergency declarations, some of those senators might support his border declaration. Although he said Trump has the power for his current declaration, McConnell said Republican senators were now questioning: "Was it too broad back in the '70s when it was passed?"

Lee's proposal says a presidential emergency would last 30 days unless Congress votes to extend it.

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