The United States continues to reel from the national emergency declaration President Donald Trump announced last Friday over a frankly nonexistent crisis at the southern border. This weekend on CNN, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) zeroed in not just on the declaration, but on Republican members of Congress, who now have a choice to either continue being complicit in Trump’s power grab or make a stand against his dictatorial tendencies.
Discussing the fact that now, Trump will be seeking to use his emergency declaration to redirect already appropriated government funds towards his long sought border wall blocking off Mexico, Schiff told CNN’s Dana Bash.
‘It is going to be a real test for my GOP colleagues in Congress and their devotion to the institution — if we give away, if we surrender the power of the purse, which is our most important power, there will be little check and no balance left. It will not be a separation of powers anymore, just a separation of parties.’
Watch his appearance:
As they discussed, under the legislation that allows for the presidential emergency declarations in the first place, Congress can pass a resolution terminating that declaration. However, the Senate remains in Republican hands, making the simple passage of such a joint resolution a difficult goal before it could even get to a veto-proof majority that would ensure the president can’t strike it down.
Already, a number of prominent Republican Senators like Florida’s Marco Rubio and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski have expressed opposition to the emergency declaration, but it’s an open question whether it’s enough to let the resolution pass the Senate.
Outside of Congress, the president is facing a number of legal threats over his plan. On Friday, he faced an initial lawsuit from the government watchdog group Public Citizen, which bluntly argued in D.C. court that he “used the national emergency to sidestep Congress in violation of the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.”
He’s also facing threats from the American Civil Liberties Union, California state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and even Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, who was concerned about reports suggesting the administration would seek to tap funds that had been designed as disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico (and California).
The White House said most recently that they’d be seeking some $3.6 billion in military construction funds, $2.5 billion from a Defense Department drug abuse prevention program, and $600 million from a Treasury Department drug-related assets forfeiture fund.
To be clear, there is no crisis on the southern border of the sort Trump claims. During his Friday press conference announcing his national emergency declaration, reporters pressed him over the fact that data his own administration has released counters the narrative that undocumented immigration and the southern border are associated with high rates of crime.
Trump insisted the numbers were wrong, claiming he had “many” stats to back him up without offering much anything in the way of specifics.
All he’s got are his continued freakouts that asylum seekers fleeing violence are — in his words — invaders marching towards the U.S.
Featured Image via screenshot from the video