WASHINGTON – The House plans to vote Tuesday on a resolution to try to block President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency along the southern border, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday.
“The president of the United States is declaring a national emergency to honor an applause line in a rally,” Pelosi said on a conference call with reporters Friday morning.
“Not only is he disrespecting the legislative branch and the constitution of the United States, he is dishonoring the office in which he serves,” said the California Democrat, who spoke from the border city of Laredo, Texas.
Pelosi said the resolution would come up in the House Rules Committee Monday night and then likely be brought to the floor on Tuesday.
House Democrats introduced the resolution Friday. As of Friday morning it had more than 225 cosponsors according to lead sponsor Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas. The bill had one GOP co-sponsor, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.
Trump announced the declaration last week as a means of freeing up billions to pay for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border after Congress failed to give him the money he demanded.
Democrats have called the declaration an overreach of Trump’s power and have vowed to fight it. Their resolution, if it passed both chambers of Congress, would terminate the emergency declaration. But even if Congress approves it, the president could veto it.
“This is a historic power grab and it will require historic unity by members of Congress – Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative – to counteract the president’s parasitic movement,” Castro said.
He and Pelosi said they were trying to recruit Republicans to sign onto the bill.
The bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House, but its future is uncertain in the Republican-held Senate. However, unlike most legislation, the resolution is rooted in a provision from the National Emergencies Act, which would require it to be voted upon within 18 calendar days after it is introduced, and then sent to the Senate.
Normally, if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t want to bring legislation from the House to the floor he can block it from getting a vote. But once this bill passes the House – which is it expected to do – the Senate will have to take it up within 18 days of receiving it.
Many Republicans have said they were uncomfortable with the president declaring a national emergency to get funding for a wall along the southern border, but it’s unclear whether they would vote for such an effort.
A copy of the one-page resolution was sent out by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late Wednesday to all members of the House, where she urged them to join in backing the move.
“All Members take an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution,” Pelosi said in her letter. “The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated. We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the President’s assault.”
“This is not about politics, it’s not about partisanship. It’s about patriotism. That’s why I wrote a letter about this resolution, Mr. Castro’s resolution, to all members ‘Dear colleague’ not ‘Dear Democratic colleague,'” Pelosi said Friday.
Trump made the emergency declaration after Congress allocated $1.375 billion for a barrier along the southern border, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had demanded. The fight over wall funding led to a 35-day government shutdown – the longest on record.
White House officials have said the emergency declaration and other budget maneuvers would free up an additional $6.6 billion, which would build at least 234 miles of border wall.
Along with Congress moving to void the order, the move has also drawn a number of legal challenges in court.
Sixteen states already filed a lawsuit over Trump’s emergency declaration, arguing it exceeds the power of the president and unconstitutionally redirects federal money that Congress had set aside for other purposes.
In addition to the resolution, Pelosi Friday did not rule out committee chairmen filing lawsuits over the wall in the future.
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