By Jon Dougherty
The Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass legislation Tuesday or Wednesday overturning POTUS Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, as expected, but he’s also running into increased opposition in the GOP-controlled Senate.
In an op-ed on Monday in the Washington Post (of course), Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., announced that should the House measure pass and make it to the upper chamber he would vote to support it, becoming one of at least three Republicans who have vowed to side with Democrats, the other two being familiar to RINO watchers: Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.
Democrats only need four Republican defections in the Senate to pass the blocking legislation, which only needs a simple majority.
Tillis proclaimed, “I would vote in favor of the resolution disapproving of the president’s national-emergency declaration, if and when it comes before the Senate.”
President Trump has few bigger allies than me when it comes to supporting his vision of 21st-century border security, encompassing a major investment in technology, personnel and infrastructure, including new physical barriers where they will be effective. […]
From the perspective of the chief executive, I can understand why the president would assert his powers with the emergency declaration to implement his policy agenda. After all, nearly every president in the modern era has similarly pushed the boundaries of presidential power, many with the helping hand of Congress.
In fact, if I were the leader of the Constitution’s Article II branch, I would probably declare an emergency and use all the tools at my disposal as well. But I am not. I am a member of the Senate, and I have grave concerns when our institution looks the other way at the expense of weakening Congress’s power.
Tillis noted further, “There is no intellectual honesty in now turning around and arguing that there’s an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach — that it’s acceptable for my party but not thy party,” he said, reminding Republican lawmakers that Democrats will one day control the White House again and use Trump’s national emergency declaration as precedent to “advance a policy that couldn’t gain congressional approval.”
While Tillis’ prediction may come true — Democrats could, of course, win the Oval Office again someday — his reluctance to support the president’s declaration belies certain other truths that he’s chosen to ignore.
Namely, President Obama’s executive actions, most notably on immigration, countermanded federal law making them illegal and unconstitutional, whereby POTUS Trump’s emergency declaration is well within the law and within his authority.
Even if a Democratic president will sit in the White House again at some point, Republicans may be in control of Congress, giving the Legislative Branch the same opportunity to vote to overturn his or her declaration if it’s believed by a majority of lawmakers to be inappropriate.
Finally, Tillis doesn’t address the fact that the president was elected on a platform of building a “big, beautiful wall” along portions of the U.S.-Mexico border, and, importantly, that Congress has repeatedly refused to provide him with the funds to do so, leaving him little choice other than an emergency declaration.
While lawmakers debate whether there is a “true emergency” along the border, it’s become plain to most Americans that something must be done to curb illegal immigration and drug smuggling. And support for physical boundaries is rising.
POTUS Trump should veto any attempt to stop him from declaring his emergency a) because he has the legal authority to do so; b) Congress won’t work with him on funding; and c) he’ll win in federal court.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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