The President declared a National Emergency in order to get the necessary funding for building a barrier on the border. The compromise agreed to by the Congress only provided him $1.375B. The President signed the bill to avoid another partial government shutdown, one that he would have been blamed for if he failed to sign, and then in a Rose Garden speech announced his intent to find the money in other parts of the Federal Budget. The following is the announced sources for the funding:
- $1.375 billion from the Homeland Security appropriations bill
- $600 million from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture fund
- $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense’s drug interdiction program
- $3.6 billion from the Department of Defense’s military construction account
This immediately led to law suits being filed. Within hours the liberal group Public Citizen filed in the District of Columbia. There suit included three Texas landowners who own property along the southern border and fear their land would be taken under eminent domain if the barrier is constructed.
Another liberal organization, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a law suit, but their suit is aimed at the Justice Department and claims the Trump administration failed show the legal authority for the declaration.
You can be assured that more lawsuits will be filed, and we are going to be headed to court over this issue. The state of California has already announced that it will file suit and Democrats in Congress are considering their options on filing law suits.
First, I think that we need to erect some form of barrier on the southern border in places where it is needed, and the Border Patrol experts say it will work. I have maintained from the beginning that we need to listen to these experts and get the politics out of the issue. Second, this should be done in conjunction with a comprehensive immigration plan that provides for border security and addresses the problems in our current immigration policies. It should never be acceptable to any elected official to allow illegal immigration in violation of the law. But we need to fix this problem and band aids will not do the trick. I have written on this subject in the past and below are three links to my thoughts on immigration:
As far as the declaration the President issued I think he is wrong and he will ultimately lose that battle. He is asking that funds already appropriated by Congress be “reprogrammed” for his use. Funds are reprogrammed all the time but with the consent of the Congressional committee that appropriated the funds. Most of the time this is a routine request and approved. In this case the funds are being asked to carry out a political agenda and I believe that the odds are 70-30 that the President will lose in Court. He most assuredly will lose in the lower courts and I think the Supreme Court will read the Constitution and rule against the Administration. The two things they will read are as follows”
Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1
“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.”
This section makes it very clear that all appropriations bill will originate in the House of Representatives and since the Democrats control the House they will have the final say on those bills.
Article I, section 9, clause 7
“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”
This power was granted to Congress by our Founding Fathers to ensure that the elected representatives of the people would control spending and not the President. There was debate in the Constitutional Convention over the power of the House and the Senate and the compromise arrived at was best described by Benjamin Franklin when he said, “It was a maxim that those who feel, can best judge. This end would . . . be best attained, if money affairs were to be confined to the immediate representatives of the people.”
The provision making Congress the ultimate authority on government spending was unanimous in the Convention. They strongly felt that the representatives of the people should be in control of the public purse and not the President.
In this case the President is right, and he is wrong. He is right that we need to do something, and he is wrong in how he is going about doing it. He will ultimately lose in the Court and then we will be back to square one. Once that happens the Democrats will take a victory lap and go back to blocking any solution on both border security and immigration.