Securing the southern border with an effective barrier has been a top priority of President Donald Trump, and despite repeated efforts to garner the cooperation of Democrats in funding that necessary wall, those on the left have refused to play ball and have forced the president to pursue the required funds through other legal means.
In February, Trump declared a national emergency and used the resulting powers to shift roughly $8 billion in funds previously appropriated for other purposes to instead go toward wall construction. Democrats, of course, cried foul at the time, and now Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for another vote of disapproval in hopes of blocking the president’s move, according to The Washington Post.
Schumer to force vote
Politico reported that Schumer’s plan is to force a vote on the issue within the next month to try and get his Republican colleagues on record again as to whether or not they support the president’s use of the national emergency declaration the powers that stem from it.
Schumer forced a vote on the issue back in March, and the Senate passed a resolution registering its disapproval of the national emergency declaration with 59 votes, which included 12 Republicans.
However, that wasn’t enough to overcome President Trump’s veto of the meaningless resolution, and the administration has proceeded to shift billions of previously appropriated dollars to help fund border wall construction.
Termination of declaration sought
Of the $8 billion that has since been earmarked for the border barrier, roughly $3.6 billion comes from canceled or delayed military construction projects planned around the country and world, a development to which Schumer took exception in a floor speech on Tuesday when he demanded another vote to terminate the national emergency declaration.
In a press release from Senate Democrats, it was explained that the 1976 National Emergencies Act allowed for Congress to vote every six months on whether to terminate a presidentially-declared national emergency, which is exactly what Schumer intends to do within the next month.
“As stipulated by the National Emergencies Act, Democrats will once again force a vote to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration,” Schumer said in his prepared remarks. “The provisions of the National Emergency Act dictate that the resolution of disapproval be privileged, and therefore must be voted upon.”
Democrats’ obstructionism continues
Citing repeated refusals in Congress to provide the requested funding for the wall and reminding everyone of Trump’s campaign vow to make Mexico pay for the barrier, Schumer said, “The president’s national emergency declaration was, and is, an outrageous power grab by a president who refuses to respect the constitutional separation of powers.”
“The president has very clearly attempted to usurp the power of the purse — given exclusively to Congress by the Constitution — by taking funding from projects we’ve approved and giving it to projects we have repeatedly declined to approve. This goes to our democracy. This goes to how the Founding Fathers set up that delicate balance. We have never had such a president overreach on an emergency basis,” he said.
In calling for an “overwhelming bipartisan vote” to terminate the declared emergency, Schumer concluded, “Democrats and Republicans alike should vote to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration. And you can be sure, we will make sure that everyone will have a chance to do so within the next month.”
President Trump’s actions, while perhaps infuriating to Democrats in Congress, was nonetheless perfectly legal within the outlines of the National Emergencies Act — and no amount of lamentation from Congress will change that. This move by Schumer to call another vote of disapproval is nothing more than an ineffectual display opposition to anything and everything done by President Trump.