President Donald Trump declared a “state of emergency” on Friday and the border between the United States and Mexico, allowing him to re-allocate $8.1 billion in federal spending towards building a permanent barrier between the two countries. The reallocated funding for border security includes $2.5 billion under the Department of Defense allocated for Support for Counterdrug Activities and $3.6 billion allocated for Department of Defense military construction projects.
The emergency declaration funding for the border barrier is in addition to the $1.375 billion for approximately 55 miles of the border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley allocated as part of the recently-passed budget compromise.
In a statement on social media on Friday, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay) questioned both the national emergency declaration by the president and the budget compromise which passed with little deliberation.
“Why do we have a Congress?” Gallagher asked on Facebook and Twitter. “Presumably we have a Congress to deliberate, debate, and legislate. When it comes to border security, Congress has done none of these things.”
Gallagher continued with a criticism of the budget compromise.
“The appropriators released a 1100+ page omnibus bill after midnight today,” Gallagher wrote. “We suspended (i.e. violated) the rules to vote on it less than 24 hours later with no real deliberation or debate. And obviously the bill does not solve the border security problem, it merely punts it to the 2020 election, meaning the problem will only get worse.”
About the declaration of an emergency at the border, Gallagher had a warning for his fellow conservatives:
Finally, the bill sets the stage for an emergency declaration that will further undermine Congress’s much diminished capacity for legislating. Conservatives celebrating the emergency declaration should pause and consider:
(1) it will likely get tied up in the courts and thus they will not get the wall they so desire;
(2) they didn’t like it when President Obama did everything through Executive fiat, and
(3) they will not like it when a future Democratic president declares a national climate emergency to seize airplanes and farting cows.
This is bad policy and bad process.
Why do we have a Congress?