02.15.19

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy, Vice Chair Of The Appropriations Committee, On President Trump’s Declaration Of A National Emergency

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.

Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution.

 

There is no national emergency.  No one who subscribes to reality can claim otherwise.  Crossings are historically down, billions are being spent on border security, and Congress yesterday appropriated still more.  President Trump simply failed to get a deal to build his wasteful vanity wall.  He failed to get a deal with Mexico, despite promising his supporters more than 200 times that Mexico would pay for it.  He failed to get a deal with his own party, even during the two years when Republicans controlled all levers of government.  And he failed to get a deal now.  The President’s inartful failure to get a deal does not justify him manufacturing a false national emergency.  And it certainly does not justify raiding funds that would strengthen our military and actually prevent drugs from entering and crippling our communities.  The President appears intent on stealing money addressing threats that exist in reality for a national emergency that exists entirely in his head.  How urgent can it be when the President has clumsily threatened to invoke this “emergency” since October of 2018?

Over the past two years, we have seen the erosion of our institutional checks and balances in the face of creeping authoritarianism.  The Founders afforded Congress alone with the constitutional power of the purse.  In the days and weeks ahead, the President’s emergency declaration — which amounts to an end run around both the Constitution and Congress — will be challenged both in the courts and in Congress.  The time has come for my Republican friends to take a stand.  President Trump will be but a blip in our nation’s history.  Let’s not forever change the course of the separation of powers in our country simply because the President made a foolish promise he could not keep.

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