Schumer Floor Remarks On This Week’s Expected Senate Vote To Terminate President Trump’s Emergency Declaration

September 23, 2019

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor calling for Republicans to join Democrats to defend the Constitution and vote to terminate President Trump’s emergency declaration this week. Below are his remarks, which can also be found here.

Again on President Trump’s overreach and lack of respect for any rule of law: Senate Republicans will be forced to vote later this week on the president’s emergency declaration, which he is using to steal money from our military to fund a border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for. Again, my Republican colleagues face a choice about whether or not to have the Senate enforce its role as a check on the executive branch.

By declaring a national emergency, the president has tried to go around the constraints of his office to spend taxpayer dollars the way he wants, instead of the way Congress appropriates. Remember: Congress has explicitly and repeatedly rejected the President’s request for border wall funding—now he is trying to improperly take it from funds elsewhere. In this case, the military.

The Constitution dictates that Congress alone has the power of the purse. Will my Republican colleagues vote to re-assert those constitutional powers, or will they buckle to the pressures of partisan loyalty to the president? And I say to some of my very conservative friends: conservatism says ‘let’s not have large agglomerations of power. Let the individual have the most freedom to exercise his or her will.’ When the president overreaches, what has happened to the true conservatives? They’re quiet, they almost hide under their desks. History will not look at it kindly.

Many of my Republican colleagues have military installations, schools, major projects in their states that would suffer as a result of the president’s emergency. The Pentagon last week warned of dire outcomes if this funding was not restored, even warning that lives might be at risk. Will Senate Republicans vote to defend our troops, their families, and children? Will they vote to defend millions of dollars of important projects in their states, including medical facilities in North Carolina, a hurricane recovery project in Florida, a middle school in Kentucky? Well, these questions will be answered this week.

I have seen reports that the Republicans are searching for other ways to restore military funding other than by ending the president’s emergency declaration. Make no mistake: Democrats will not assent to backfilling accounts or other backhanded ways of approving taxpayer dollars for the president’s border wall. The president said Mexico would pay for it. That’s the only thing he said during the campaign. When people yelled “build the wall,” it was Mexico who was going to pay for it, not American taxpayers, and certainly not our military. Not the brave men and women who risk their lives for us, and whose families go through such hardship. The simplest, quickest and only way of protecting military funding is for my Republican friends to join us in terminating the emergency declaration later this week.

I urge my Republican colleagues to think about their states and the important military projects that hang in the balance; to think about the precedent it would set for this president and for future presidents; and above all, to think about the constitutional questions—to just read the Constitution—and defend the Article I powers of Congress given to us by the founders.