In mid-February, President Trump declared a national emergency in an effort to secure funding for the border wall that has been a focal point of his agenda dating back to the campaign trail. Today, Congress has passed a resolution to block that declaration.
After easily passing through the House, the measure passed through the Senate 59-41, with 12 Republicans voting in favor of blocking the President’s national emergency declaration. Among the 12 Republicans voting in favor of the measure was Senator Roger Wicker. While the measure has passed both chambers of Congress, President Trump has made his intentions clear.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2019
After the vote, Wicker stated that he was concerned by the precedent that the use of an emergency declaration may set in the future, and that he continues to support a plan to build the wall.
“I had very cordial conversations with the President yesterday and this morning. I shared with him that I strongly support his plan to build walls on our southern border, but that an emergency declaration was the wrong approach. The President already has almost $6 billion available that can be used to build border walls. For over 20 years in the House and Senate, I have voted for funds to build more than 600 miles of border structure, and I look forward to working with President Trump on additional border security measures.”
“I am concerned about the precedent an emergency declaration sets, which might empower a future liberal President to declare emergencies to enact gun control or to address ‘climate emergencies,’ or even to tear down the wall we are building today.”
“I regret that we were not able to find a solution that would have averted a challenge to the balance of power as defined by the Constitution. The system of checks and balances established by the Founders has preserved our democracy. It is essential that we protect this balance even when it is frustrating or inconvenient.” – Senator Wicker
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith voted against the measure blocking the declaration, saying that President Trump was right to take action.
“The President is justified in exercising his statutory authorities under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which gives him the latitude to declare a national emergency specifically to implement an existing border security law that was enacted with broad bipartisan support,” Hyde-Smith said.
“An emergency declaration may not be an ideal course of action, but an objective look at surging unlawful border crossings and illegal drug trafficking indicates we are facing a crisis that will get worse before it gets better,” she said. “This is a serious issue. The citizens of this country would be better served if Congress worked together to address this humanitarian and border security crisis, rather than using the issue to score political points.” – Senator Hyde-Smith
According to Hyde-Smith, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have indicated that attempted border crossings in February marked an 11-year high for that month.