Democrats will introduce bill to block Trump plan

WASHINGTON – House Democrats will file a resolution Friday morning to try to block President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency along the southern border. 

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. They are expected to introduce a resolution that would terminate the emergency declaration. But even if it passes the president can always veto it.

The bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House, but its future is uncertain in the Republican-held Senate. However, unlike normal legislation, this resolution comes from a provision within the National Emergencies Act, which means it has to be voted on within 18 calendar days after it is introduced, and then sent over 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 others in the House, where she urged members to join in backing the move. She said the House “will move swiftly to pass the bill” and vowed to have it move quickly through committees so that Congress could vote on the measure.

“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.”

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.

More: 16 states sue Trump over national emergency declaration, border wall

More: National emergencies are common; declaring one for a border wall is not

 

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