Emergency Declared: Trump to Build Wall Without Congress
As of Friday morning, two things seem to be all but certain: President Trump is going to sign an extremely disappointing bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September, and, to make up for this irritating and unsatisfying compromise, he will declare a national emergency.
Theoretically, this emergency declaration will allow the president to spend $8 billion worth of Pentagon funds on building the wall with no further need to consult Congress. Realistically, it may simply mean that we are in for a long stretch of time during which the wall is held up by the courts.
According to ABC News, senior officials at the Justice Department have already warned the White House that the emergency move will be challenged by left-wing interests groups, and that is it likely that the courts will put a freeze on Trump’s plans to build the wall. White House officials acknowledge that likelihood, but they believe that they can win this case on appeal and prove that everything Trump is about to do lies within the proper scope of his executive authority.
Complicating that case is the bill itself. How will the courts view this national emergency through this lens? Trump signs a bill that only provides him with $1.3 billion for the wall – a bill that is also laden with rules and regulations that will make it almost impossible to build a single mile worth of new fencing along the Rio Grande Valley. If he was okay with signing this bill, then why should the courts believe that he needs an emergency declaration for the wall? Politically, the decision is wholly understandable; the Democrats refuse to budge off their offer. Legally? It could run into some trouble.
“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday. “The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”
At the end of the day, it was either this or another shutdown. As far as we can tell, supporters like Ann Coulter were hoping for the latter. We’re not sure what that would have accomplished. Democrats are dug in. The media is fully primed to blame Trump and the Republicans for the shutdown, just as they did the first time around. To “win” the next round, Trump would have to be prepared to keep the government shut down for months, if not years. How would that do anything other than hand Democrats the Senate and the White House in 2020?
Best case scenario at this point: Trump’s emergency declaration sails through the courts and we get the promised wall. Worst case scenario: It doesn’t, and Trump has ammunition against the Democrats going into the next election. Yes, conservatives are rightly annoyed at this bill, but does that mean we’re going to stay home in 2020 and let Kamala Harris become the next president? Not likely.
It’s fashionable to go into maximum OUTRAGE every time every little thing doesn’t go our way, but Trump is making the best of a terrible situation.
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