President Trump has declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexican border so he can reallocate several billion dollars toward construction of the border wall. The President made the announcement after signing the congressional compromise bill that allocates nearly $1.4 billion for the wall.
Funding for the wall, or barrier, is only one part of new border security spending. For example, the budgets for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) rose seven percent to a total of nearly $23 billion for border security and immigration.
The compromise bill represents a significant step forward in reducing the flow of illegal drugs into the country, as well as issues related to illegal border crossings. However, the President, upset that the deal fell well short of his latest demand for $5.7 billion, decided to use national emergency powers to direct more money to the wall.
Even many conservatives have questioned the legality of the move. An editorial in the National Review said, “The laws that the president will use were clearly written with some dire national-security event in mind that would make it impossible for the president to go to Congress with necessary dispatch. The president isn’t acting unilaterally because he can’t go to Congress, but because he has done so and he did not fully get what he wanted.”
Republicans won’t want to take advice from Nancy Pelosi, but the House Speaker’s warning should resonate with conservatives. “A Democratic president can declare national emergencies as well,” she warned. Imagine the outrage by Republicans if President Elizabeth Warren declared a national emergency on climate change or President Kamala Harris declared a national emergency on gun violence?
West Virginia’s Republican delegation should also remember their appropriate outrage when President Obama’s EPA abused its executive power to try to shut down the coal industry. Which bring us to Shelley Moore Capito.
The Republican Senator from West Virginia has fallen in the clearly uncomfortable line with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in supporting the national emergency. McConnell had to reverse course from earlier public and private warnings to Trump about going down that road.
Former Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, who previously served as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, explained graphically on CNN the tight spot Trump has carved out for McConnell. “You’re watching Mitch McConnell eat a manure sandwich in this whole process,” he said.
Capito has the same limited menu. It’s worth noting that in her four-page news release about the benefits of the government funding bill, she dedicates a mere 15 words to the president’s decision. “And to help further achieve that goal (of border security), I plan to support his national emergency declaration.”
Republicans—including Captio, who served on the conference committee—came out of the discussions with $1.4 billion for the wall and more money for border security—only to be force fed a malodorous maneuver by the President.
But that’s what you often get with Trump. His core desire for political self-preservation and self-aggrandizement force others, including leaders of his own party, into untenable positions where a gag-worthy sandwich awaits.