President Donald Trump received more flack over his national emergency declaration on Sunday, this time from Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who blasted him for violating the Constitution by usurping the powers of Congress.
It’s been more than two weeks since Trump announced the national emergency declaration in response to Congress not giving him funding to build his ineffective wall on the southern border.
Since then, several Texas Republican lawmakers have come out in opposition to it, and a resolution opposing the declaration is currently awaiting a vote by the Senate.
On Sunday, Amash criticized Trump and his national emergency during an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN.
“We have a system of separation of powers under our Constitution,” Amash began. “The legislative branch, Congress, handles legislative powers and this is something that we’ve had going through Congress for the past several years. We’ve passed appropriations bills. The president has signed the bills, he hasn’t vetoed the bills. So, if he wanted to say there was a crisis he could have vetoed the legislation. And now he wants to declare an emergency to do something Congress has already debated and discussed.”
Indeed, Congress reached a compromise appropriating $1.35 billion for 55 additional miles of border fencing, not the wall Trump has been demanding. But it was a compromise nonetheless, making Trump’s national emergency declaration unnecessary. But he did it anyway, something a constitutionalist like Amash disagrees with.
“The president doesn’t get to decide to override Congress simply because Congress doesn’t do what he wants,” Amash continued, pointing out that there’s no national emergency because there’s no consensus that one exists.
“Do you think that Republicans who are supporting this national emergency are abdicating their responsibilities to the Constitution?” Tapper asked.
“I think so, yes,” Amash said, going on to accuse Trump of violating the Constitution.
“I don’t think that they are all intending to do that. I think many of them are making arguments. They’re trying to make legal arguments. They say, well, Congress has passed legislation giving the president this power. So I don’t think that they are thinking to themselves, oh, I just want the president to violate the Constitution. But I think the president is violating our constitutional system. And I don’t think Congress can grant legislative powers to the president by statute. You can’t just pass a statute that says, the president now has appropriations power and bypass Congress.”
And that’s why Amash supports the resolution that recently passed the House and he wants Senate Republicans to do the same.
“The best check on the president’s action is Congress, and that Congress has to protect our own power,” he concluded. “And that’s what I’m doing. And I’m hopeful many Republican senators will agree.”
Here’s the video via YouTube.
It should also be pointed out that if this precedent is allowed to stand, the next Democratic president will have the ability to declare a national emergency to institute universal healthcare, enact the Green New Deal or deal with gun violence. And there’s nothing Republicans can do about it if they allow Trump to get away with his unconstitutional national emergency declaration. Because while his border crisis is a fake emergency that he manufactured, lack of healthcare access, gun violence, and climate change are all true emergencies that desperately require immediate action.
Featured Image: Screenshot