McConnell: Trump Will Sign Bill, Declare National Emergency

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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53 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Let’s hope that Congress asserts itself and says “nope, no more imperial presidency”.Report

  2. George Turner says:

    I’m not sure why he has to declare a national emergency, as the 2007 secure borders act, which is US law, gives him the authority to redirect DHS funding to build border barriers if the secretary of DHS says we’ve lost operational control of a border area.Report

  3. JoeSal says:

    Woooooooo Eeeeeeee looky there….. a pen and a phone.Report

  4. Michael Cain says:

    Are we making bets? I’ll take the House passes a resolution rescinding the emergency, the Senate passes it narrowly (Gardner, Collins, Murkowski, and McSally), Trump vetoes, neither chamber can come up with two-thirds. Sometime down the line, the courts find that no one has standing to challenge the President on whether it’s an emergency.Report

    • North in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Seems like a good bet to me. If the courts want to punt on the issue that’s how they’ll do it.
      Who do you think Trumps gonna raid the money from (and how much money) and how much stink do you think they’ll raise? Also what’s he gonna do about the land?Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to North says:

        IANAL, only a lowly analyst, but here’s my take on a bunch of things that I think can be challenged in court about the handling of the emergency. I’m assuming Trump will start with the Army Corps of Engineers construction budget (named in the NEA) and take his arbitrary $5.7B (from a total in the range of $11-12B).

        The NEA says the money has to be spent on construction in support of the military’s response to the emergency, not in support of civilian agencies. Absent a revolution or insurrection, with the courts all functioning normally, domestic deployment of troops to seal the border (or portions thereof) seems problematic. The NEA doesn’t relieve the military of going through eminent domain due process. The NEA doesn’t relieve the military of responsibility to conform to domestic regulations, like environmental impact statements. At some point, DHS will wave their magic wand and claim their statutory waiver from regulatory procedures covers the Army building a 2,000 mile long wall without any EISs, officially protected wilderness areas be damned. I don’t think the courts will agree. Some parts of the wall will almost certainly violate assorted interstate and international water compacts — this is the Southwest, where pretty much every drop of water that crosses a border, and many that don’t, are covered by one or more compacts.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Michael Cain says:

          It won’t be 2k long. Not even Trump will build it up mountains or over rivers. The 80/20 rule applies, he can get 80% of the entire job for 400 miles.Report

          • Hell, they’ve already built 650 miles of walls and fences of various sorts. If I let him replace 400 miles of that with his version of the wall, will he tear out the other 250 miles?

            Being a long time Coloradan now, I’ve acquired the ingrained state antipathy towards most things Texan. As an alternative, I’ll settle for “You can build as much wall as you want as long as it’s all in Texas.” :^)Report

        • North in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Other question: can the courts shut it down pending review? So Don gets his “victory” but doesn’t build anything and runs out of time before court review concludes? If that happens then both sides may technically win since Trumps followers only really care about the optics.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to North says:

            Got me. The CA and AZ borders are in the 9th Circuit; I could see the 9th issuing injunctions for environmental and other reasons. The NM border is in the 10th. The TX border is in the 5th. The Colorado River Compact and the Rio Grande River Compact, both of which include Mexico, go straight to the SCOTUS. Water compact cases take forever. There’s a CO-NM-TX case over the Rio Grande before the SCOTUS now. Last year they told the special master who had written an opinion, “Thanks, here’s your check, we don’t like your report, so we’re appointing a new special master (from Maine) and sending him off to make a different decision.” Probably 2020 before the special master writes anything.

            One of the things that I expect Trump and his inner circle will miss is that should the US void the Rio Grande compact with Mexico, Mexico has the dams in place to dry up significant chunks of the river that Texas farmers and ranchers depend on.

            These are the kinds of things that, particularly after spending time working for the Colorado legislature, cause me to mutter under my breath about f*cking clueless East Coast judges deciding Southwestern water cases.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I would hope to see a lot more Republicans vote in favor of that resolution, but I wouldn’t expect to see 67 total Yeas. I could see some reasonable court challenges, though.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I also bet that a lot of the money ends up going to contractors linked to the Trump family, the wall doesn’t get built, and the Republicans blame the entire thing on the perniciousness of the Democratic Party to rile up the base.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Especially if done under the NEA, which allows the Secretary to skip all of the normal competitive bidding and vendor qualification processes.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Contractors? Doesn’t the Army corp of engineering have to do the bulk of this?Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Dark Matter says:

          You sweet summer child. Do you really think Trump is going to pass up an opportunity to line his pockets?Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to LeeEsq says:

            My assumption is he is already doing this left right and center. However you didn’t answer my question, doesn’t the army have to do the bulk of this?Report

            • As I read the statute, nope. The only requirement is that the construction be necessary for the military to perform its part of the emergency response. My interpretation of that would mean that the military has to have a large part of the responsibility for enforcing border security (probably less ports of entry), possibly the primary responsibility, which may be problematic for various reasons. But I concede there’s a chance the courts could accept an argument that goes, “The military’s role is to support DHS with physical security, concertina wire on fences is not enough, a wall is necessary. Under the terms of the NEA, the Army Corps of Engineers construction budget is available for that purpose, and the DHS waiver on regulatory procedures like environmental impact statements applies.”Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    1. Fuck you, Donald.

    2. I can’t wait until President Harris declares a national emergency for universal healthcare.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Don’t forget guns!Report

    • Not to rain on anyone’s parade or anything, but the NEA is not an unlimited license. Point to something in the NEA that would allow President Harris to divert money from some place into government-paid-for healthcare. If she’s got the votes to amend the NEA to allow it, she’s got the votes to enact universal healthcare anyway.

      Much as I personally dislike saying it, there is an arguable case that Trump can legally divert a certain pot of money to build a wall. I think the details will have much of the wall tied up in court for years (see above), and a lot of it will turn out to be impossible to build in practice, but some things can be done until such time as Congress chooses to change the law.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Saul DegrawI can’t wait until President Harris declares a national emergency for universal healthcare.

      I’d love to see UH for 5 Billion or however much pocket change she can scrape up.Report

      • North in reply to Dark Matter says:

        Don is a piker and an incompetent so who knows how much he’ll actually be able to get out. There’s not much cap on what someone who wasn’t inept could do using this lever, certainly not 5 billion (and I think it’s a mighty bad idea). Building green power plants for the “climate emergency”; expanding government healthcare to address the “healthcare emergency”… the list goes on and on.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to North says:

          The total amount of money in the pot he’s tapping is 10-11 Billion. He started with 1 and change so he only needs 4.

          These are VERY tiny amounts of money by the gov’s standards and this was always a minor issue that he wanted far too much. A prez HRC would have been fine building a wall, this has always been about preventing Trump from having credit.Report

    • j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This is the endgame. And it’s never going to get us what we want.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      “2. I can’t wait until President Harris declares a national emergency for universal healthcare.”

      I will say it’ll be interesting to see how exactly it’s explained to us that this is a really important issue and it’s important that we get the problem solved by any means necessary and that’s why we need to figure out a way to get around the partisan bureaucratic gridlock and get. This. Job. DONE.Report

  6. We have 31 ongoing national emergencies, most of which have no business being national emergencies. I’m glad people are finally noticing how this power has been relentlessly abused.Report

  7. pillsy says:

    Without an omnipotent executive, how can you use the threat of the Son of the Return of the Revenge of the Flight 93 Election to keep your coalition from crumbling to dust when you run a Red Skull/MODOK ticket?Report

  8. Burt Likko says:

    Are any of you, like me, old enough to remember the pernicious assault upon the delicate system of distributed Constitutional powers, checks, and balances which are the very foundation of our liberties being ruthlessly and imperiously assaulted by so-called President Barack Hussein Obama when he had the unmitigated arrogance and gall to issue a “signing statement” purporting to interpret legislation passed by Congress on the very day he signed that legislation into law? Or what a grave threat it was to the very foundations of democracy and the rule of law when that same man of Kenyan extraction announced that he, in his capacity as President, would unilaterally announce priorities in the implementation of laws passed by Congress?

    We’ll have to see what Trump actually does with this declaration, but what I’m really reminded of is an observation that our own EIC made about Trump: his history of business ventures being put through Chapter 11 demonstrates that when Trump no longer sees a way he can win, he will change the rules. Now, even then, Trump still loses quite a lot, but it’s a good bet that whatever vision he eventually announces for the new rules, we aren’t going to like them.Report

  9. DensityDuck says:

    Just so that we’re clear: I think this is a terrible idea, both in what it’s used to do and in how it’s done. It may just be following a precedent, but you have to choose to follow a precedent, and you can also choose to not do that.Report