Two former Republican congressmen from Texas who served in the office across two decades are calling upon current Republicans in the House and Senate to vote against President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration.
On Monday, Trump warned Republicans not to vote for a resolution in opposition to his national emergency, which he declared over a week ago to steal taxpayer dollars to use to build a wall on the southern border that experts have said over and over again won’t stop drugs and will be a logistical and environmental nightmare that most Americans oppose.
I hope our great Republican Senators don’t get led down the path of weak and ineffective Border Security. Without strong Borders, we don’t have a Country – and the voters are on board with us. Be strong and smart, don’t fall into the Democrats “trap” of Open Borders and Crime!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2019
That same day, the Houston Chronicle published an op-ed by former Reps. Steve Barlett and Alan Steelman calling upon Republicans to vote to “terminate” the emergency declaration.
Bartlett served in Congress between 1983-1991 and Steelman served between 1973-1977.
“Americans may have different views on President Trump’s wall proposal, but all of us should be able to agree that an emergency declaration is a constitutionally inappropriate means to secure funding,” they wrote. “In order to fulfill their oath of office Members of Congress should vote to terminate the emergency declaration.”
“The power of the purse rests with Congress because it maintains the most direct connection between those being governed and those governing,” they continued, going on to quote the passage directly:
“No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”
But Trump has done exactly that and Republicans must stop him.
“Although President Trump was clear that he desired funding for the border wall, the Congress did not appropriate it,” the duo pointed out. “Indeed, the government partially shut down for more than a month over this issue. The shutdown was resolved with a bipartisan spending agreement that did not include border wall funding. The president should not be able to circumvent Congress’s considered decision not to provide requested funding simply by invoking an emergency. That is not how our Constitution vests power.”
They also warned that if Republicans don’t stand up to Trump now, a Democratic president would have precedent to declare a national emergency as well, perhaps to pay for universal healthcare with the defense budget or to deal with gun violence. Both men are literally echoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who delivered the same warning just hours before Trump declared the emergency.
“Any person who has served or currently serves in the Congress sought the office out of great love for our country and a passionate belief in the majesty of our constitution,” Bartlett and Steelman concluded. “We sought to serve to advance freedom and prosperity — and above all to defend our constitutional order. Now those in office are being called on to do exactly that, even when expediency may counsel shunting high principle aside. Honoring that awesome oath of office means voting to terminate the emergency declared by the president on February 15, 2019.”
Current Republican lawmakers from Texas have also rejected Trump’s national emergency. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) both condemned it. Hurd because a wall won’t work and is a waste of money, and Williams because Trump intends to use military construction funds to build it.
Clearly, pressure keeps mounting o Republicans and they may be forced to kill the emergency in defiance of trump if they want any chance of winning re-election in 2020. That’s assuming they can grow their grow spines back.
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