CORRECTION, Feb 16, 2019: An earlier version of this story said Rep. Joaquin Castro is a Democratic candidate for president. His twin brother Julian Castro is.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Friday that she will introduce legislation in the House of Representatives, along with Democratic colleague Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas to block President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration.
“.@JoaquinCastrotx and I aren’t going to let the President declare a fake national emergency without a fight,” the New York representative tweeted prior to Trump’s White House announcement.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 15, 2019
The statute calls for Congress to vote on a joint resolution within a six-month window to decide whether an emergency declaration should be terminated.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York said Thursday that he would back such a resolution, USA Today reported.
“I will fully support the enactment of a joint resolution to terminate the president’s emergency declaration, in accordance with the process described in the National Emergencies Act, and intend to pursue all other available legal options,” he said. “The Judiciary Committee will also use its authority to hold the administration to account and determine the supposed legal basis for the president’s actions.”
While the resolution would likely clear the Democrat-controlled House, it is not clear how it would fare in the Senate where Republicans hold a 53 to 47 majority.
The Hill reported Thursday that GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky, John Cornyn of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Marco Rubio of Florida have all expressed concerns about Trump appropriating border barrier funding by declaring a national emergency.
Trump has the power to veto a congressional vote to terminate his declaration, which would require a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House to override.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement following Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, claiming he has “gone outside the bounds of the law.”
“The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution,” they further stated. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”
Trump announced from the Rose Garden that he had signed the declaration, which directs $8 billion to construct or repair as much as 234 miles in border barrier, Politico reported.
In addition to the $1.375 billion, Congress just voted to authorize, the White House will seek to redirect $3.6 billion from a military construction fund, $2.5 billion from a Department of Defense drug interdiction program and $600 million from the Treasury Department from a drug forfeiture fund.
The national emergency is specifically being used to tap the $3.6 billion from the military construction fund.
Among other statutory provisions regarding redirecting Pentagon funds to border security that the Trump administration will likely point to is 10 U.S.C 284.
In testimony before Congress last month, a top DOD official said the law authorizes the Pentagon to provide support for counter-drug operations if requested by the appropriate federal and state authorities.
The legislation specifically allows for the “construction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.”
Trump predicted the Democrats and their allies will challenge his national emergency declaration in court, but believes the Supreme Court will side with his administration, if the case is treated fairly.
“The probably easiest one to win is declaring a national emergency, because we’re declaring it for virtual invasion purposes: drugs, traffickers, and gangs,” Trump said, referring to his past victory at the high court regarding his travel ban from certain countries. “We have removed thousands of MS-13 gang monsters.”
Many national emergencies have been declared by past presidents, including Barack Obama, Trump noted.
In fact, the president said he would use language from the Obama administration’s 2011 national emergency declaration in relation to transnational criminal gangs, which specifically identified the ruthless Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel.
In making the case for further barrier funding in late January, Trump said, “Last year alone, (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers removed 10,000 known or suspected gang members, like MS-13 and members as bad as them. Horrible people. Tough. Mean. Sadistic.”
“As commander in chief, my highest priority is the defense of our great country,” he added. “We cannot surrender operational control over the nation’s borders to foreign cartels, traffickers, and smugglers.”
Ocasio-Cortez has called for the abolishment of ICE on multiple occasions, Fox News reported.
“(ICE) do not deserve a dime until they can prove that they are honoring human rights, until they can make a good faith effort to expand and embrace immigrants … Until they can prove good faith to an American ideal, they do not deserve any resources for their radical agenda,” she said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.