Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) argued on Monday — ahead of a House vote to end the national emergency declaration by President Donald Trump along the southern border — that Congress is trying to protect the separation of power.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) introduced the resolution last week and joined the speaker for a press conference alongside other party members. House Democrats plan to vote on the proposal on Tuesday.
Even so, it’s unlikely to get far, given the GOP’s control of the Senate. Yet it would be a clear signal of opposition.
President Trump declared a state of emergency after legislative talks failed to reach his requests for border security wall funding. He also reluctantly signed a compromise deal to prevent a second partial government shutdown as a result of the border fight. House Democrats are now pushing a resolution that would end the emergency declaration.
“We gather here this afternoon for a matter of the upmost importance to our country,” Pelosi said on Monday. “The Constitution spells out the responsibilities of each branch, giving Congress, among other powers, the power of the purse. The president’s power grab usurps that constitutional responsibility and fundamentally violates the balance of power envisioned by our Founders,” she added.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 25, 2019
“To defend our democracy, the House will pass Congressman Castro’s privileged resolution to terminate the emergency declaration tomorrow,” Pelosi said.
“This isn’t about the border,” she added. “It’s about the Constitution of the United States. This is not about politics. It’s not about partisanship. It’s about patriotism. And so, again, once we pass this resolution, we will send it over to the Senate. All members, as I say, have taken the oath of office. We would be delinquent in our duties if we did not resist, if we did not fight back to overturn the president’s declaration.”
Pelosi last week was helping to garner support for the resolution leading up to its introduction on Friday. She sent a letter to lawmakers on Wednesday that encouraged them to support the plan and said they will move quickly to pass it. The proposal boasted 222 co-sponsors just a day before it was officially introduced.
The House Rules Committee also held a hearing about the emergency declaration on Monday. The committee members discussed the resolution to end the emergency declaration as well as other legislative matters, such as bills pending on background checks for purchasing guns.
The bitter fight over border security led to a record-long government shutdown and threatened another. The first government shutdown ended with a short-term spending bill on January 25. But the underlying disagreement about the border wall remained.
Trump signed a compromise deal; he also declared the national emergency because the deal fell far short of the $5.7 billion he requested for the security wall. He could possibly free up billions in emergency funds for the wall from various federal reserves through the National Emergencies Act (NEA).
Trump had considered declaring a state of emergency since the latter part of the government shutdown. He’s argued numerous times the situation at the border constitutes a crisis and that a wall is critical to deterring illegal drugs and criminal gangs from coming into this country.
The budget compromise includes $22.54 billion in total border security funding, with $1.375 billion of that going to 55 miles of physical barriers along the southwest border. The proposal also funds the remaining parts of the federal government through the fiscal year to September 30.
Trump is also facing lawsuits for his emergency declaration. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading 16 other states who have sued the administration. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was in court to make arguments for the first time in its own lawsuit last Thursday. The ACLU has also mobilized protests against the decision as well.
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