The power of the purse belongs to Congress.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) became the fourth Republican senator to voice his support on a resolution to block President Donald Trump’s border wall emergency declaration. Paul wrote at FoxNews.com that he “cannot support the use of emergency powers to get more funding.”
At a GOP event, Paul told the audience that he cannot “vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress.”
Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Thom Tillis (NC) have already said they will not support the emergency declaration.
With Paul, supporters of the resolution to block the border emergency declaration will have the majority to pass it. This will set up Trump’s first veto during his term.
Paul remembered how the Republicans “decried President Obama’s use of executive power to legislate.” He also said that in order to remain “an honest officeholder,” one must do that “no matter who is in power.”
The senator explains his thinking in his op-ed:
There are really two questions involved in the decision about emergency funding. First, does statutory law allow for the president’s emergency orders, and, second, does the Constitution permit these emergency orders? As far as the statute goes, the answer is maybe — although no president has previously used emergency powers to spend money denied by Congress, and it was clearly not intended to do that.
But there is a much larger question: the question of whether or not this power and therefore this action are constitutional. With regard to the Constitution, the Supreme Court made it very clear in Youngstown Steel in 1952, in a case that is being closely reexamined in the discussion of executive power. In Youngstown, the Court ruled that there are three kinds of executive order: orders that carry out an expressly voiced congressional position, orders where Congress’ will is unclear, and, finally, orders clearly opposed to the will of Congress.
To my mind, like it or not, we had this conversation. In fact, the government was shut down in a public battle over how much money would be spent on the wall and border security. It ended with a deal that Congress passed and the president signed into law, thus determining the amount.
Congress clearly expressed its will not to spend more than $1.3 billion and to restrict how much of that money could go to barriers. Therefore, President Trump’s emergency order is clearly in opposition to the will of Congress.
The Constitution places the responsibility of the purse on Congress, not the president.
He also believes that “the president’s order for more wall money contradicts the will of Congress and will, in all likelihood, be struck down by the Supreme Court.”
At Hot Air, Jazz Shaw explained that “the funding in question was already appropriated by Congress for the military.” He pointed out that “there are already at least two laws on the books (passed by Congress and never repealed) that allow for military funding to be moved around in this fashion.” More from Jazz:
Title 10, Section 2808 allows the POTUS to do this during a national emergency or state of war. (And if you can’t undo his emergency declaration, he’s staying within the boundaries of that law.) But even if you block the emergency declaration, there’s a very solid case to be made that Title 10, Section 284 allows the Justice Department and the Department of Defense to authorize the use of military funds for construction projects within 25 miles of the border in the interest of preventing drug trafficking and/or international crime.
While I see Paul’s point, the examples presented by Jazz Shaw can also sway me to believe the legality of Trump’s action. In order to prevent something like this from happening again, Congress should repeal those laws. If Congress appropriates money for a department or place it should be used for that specifically, not shuffled around.
However, as Jazz wrote, Congress can override this with the resolution they have in front of them and that includes the support to override Trump’s veto.DONATE
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