Schumer Announces Senate Democrats Will Soon Force Senate Vote To Terminate The National Emergency Declaration President Trump Is Using To Steal Funds From Military Construction Projects To Pay For Expensive, Ineffective Border Wall He Promised Mexico Would Pay For

September 10, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in a floor statement today said Senate Democrats will soon introduce a joint resolution to terminate President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration that he has used to steal funding from 127 military projects in an attempt to fund the expensive, ineffective southern border wall that the president repeatedly promised Mexico would pay to build. Leader Schumer said that Senate Democrats will force a vote in the coming weeks to block President Trump from using special emergency powers to transfer money from military base construction projects like new schools, child care centers, and an engineering center at West Point to pay for border construction in defiance of the will of Congress.

Under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, Congress can vote every six months on a resolution to terminate a president’s emergency declaration. The last vote was on March 14th, 2019 when 59 Senators, including 12 Republicans and every Senate Dem voted to terminate the emergency declaration.

Leader Schumer’s remarks can be found here and below:

I begin this morning with some news for my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. As stipulated by the National Emergencies Act, Democrats will once again force a vote to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration. The provisions of the National Emergency Act dictate that the resolution of disapproval be privileged, and therefore must be voted upon.

As everyone no doubt remembers, the Trump administration declared a national emergency in February of this year after Congress repeatedly denied the president funding for the construction of a border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for. A few weeks ago, the administration released the list of military construction projects it’s planned on canceling in order to steal money for the president’s wall.

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.

I say to all of my colleagues: This issue rises to a large and vital constitutional issue: does our country truly have checks and balances, particularly when we have such an overreaching president? We all must consider the dangerous precedent this would set if presidents may declare national emergencies every time their initiatives fail in Congress. It is outrageous. There’s balance of powers. The president failed in Congress. He didn’t say it was an emergency then, but  he uses the national emergency law, which is intended for true national emergencies—floods, states of war—and then overrules the will of the people as voiced in the Congress. This is so wrong.

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.

The recourse for such a brazen power grab should be an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Congress to terminate the emergency declaration and re-assert our constitutional authority. Most of my colleagues know this is wrong. In fact, when we had a vote last time, 59 Senators, including a good number of Republicans, voted against the emergency. And you know what adds insult to injury? Who was the president stealing the money from? Our military. Projects that protect our nation, support military families, local economies, local schools. The Trump administration has proposed pilfering funds from projects in twenty-three states, three U.S. territories, and military installations in twenty countries, including $80 million from projects in North Carolina, $30 million in Arizona…even a middle school in Kentucky. How do we say to the men and women who risk their lives for us, and whose families sacrifice, that we’re taking their money away? That the president’s taking their money away, and we’re going to shrug our shoulders. Not this member. Not this Senator. Not, I believe, every Senator on our side. Not a whole bunch on their side, on the Republican side. We need some more people to join us. I hope we’ll see even a larger majority stand up for both the Constitution and the military and its military members and families.

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. If we don’t do it, how many more emergencies will the president declare? Who else will he take money from and use it for purposes that he wants but that Congress doesn’t and the American people are largely opposed to?

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