Schumer Floor Remarks On This Week’s Vote To Terminate The President’s National Emergency

September 24, 2019

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding this week’s vote to terminate the president’s national emergency, which he has used to steal funds from our military to build a border wall.  Below are his remarks, which can also be found here.

The national emergency, another issue that involves rule of law and the president’s overreach. This week, as early as tomorrow, the Senate will vote on whether or not to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration, which he has used to steal funds from our military to build a border wall. A wall President Trump promised over and over again that Mexico would pay for. Not American taxpayers, not American troops, not their families. Mexico. That was the president’s promise to the American people. It’s a promise he broke.

But that is what it has come to. If my Republican friends choose to stand with President Trump on this vote, they will be supporting the president taking money from our military and their families to fund a border wall. I imagine that even many those who support the wall—and that is not a majority, or close to a majority, of Americans—would not want the money to come from military.

Later this morning, Democrats will have a press conference where we will talk about this. We will remind people that the consequences of the president’s emergency declaration are far-reaching. He is taking money away from military readiness, military families, the children of service members. He is taking money from military medical facilities in North Carolina and hurricane recovery projects in Florida. Money from programs we use to combat Russian cyber aggression and money to upgrade storage facilities that are decrepit and pose a risk because of the munitions that are stored there.

What the heck are we doing here?

Congress appropriated these funds with a specific purpose. In our Constitution, the president doesn’t get to decide where the money goes, we do. He gets veto power. He tried to shut down the government and failed. And if he can get around the constitutionally sanctioned balance of power, that’s what a dictator does, not someone who believes in democracy and rule of law. What he has done here far exceeds any overreach that my Republican colleagues complained about President Obama. But remarkably, too many are silent.  Too many are willing to go along—out of  fear of this president, who many of my colleagues know privately does not have the honor, morality, honesty, and actually competence to do this job. They know that, but they go along with just about everything he does.

Now on a policy basis, you can shrug your shoulders, that’s difference between the parties. But when it comes to defending the Constitution and rule of law and not letting the executive overreach—the number one fear of the founding fathers—we’re above that. Where are our Republican colleagues?

I’m sure if the shoe were on the other foot, and a Democratic president declared an emergency to re-appropriate funds, my Republican colleagues would be up in arms. As I mentioned, when President Obama did far less, they were screaming bloody murder. Now, they’re remarkably silent. So it is about time our Senate Republicans stood up for the rule of law, stood up for the constitution, and stood up to the president when he was wrong. Time to re-assert the powers of the legislative branch, the people’s branch of government.

Senate Republicans will have that opportunity this week, likely tomorrow. And the American people will clearly be able to see whose side each Republican is on: the people’s side, the Constitution’s side, or the president’s.