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Senator Sasse Should Stand with Constitution, Vote to Reject Trump’s Unconstitutional Emergency Declaration Power Grab

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The Senate is poised to join the House and vote for the resolution blocking President Trump’s unconstitutional and unpopular emergency declaration. With leading conservative voices and constitutional scholars joining the majority of both chambers in opposing Trump’s power grab, Senator Benjamin Sasse should declare whether he intends to stand with President Trump’s fake emergency declaration or with the constitution and the proper separation of powers?

In Nebraska, observers are highlighting why Senator Sasse should stand with the Constitution and against Trump’s unconstitutional power grab:

Keith Nickum of Lincoln, NE writes to the Lincoln Journal Star:

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Sen. Ben Sasse and Sen. Deb Fischer: President Trump has announced he potentially plans to declare a state of emergency on Feb. 15 if he doesn’t get the money he wants.

Make no mistake: This is a threat to the Constitution, to the equal power of the legislative branch and to the American people.

There is no basis for a national emergency today, there wasn’t during the 35-day government shutdown, there wasn’t two years ago when Trump took office and there will be no basis for one on Feb 15.

You cannot allow him to follow through on this threat; that is not how American government works.

Kenneth Pickens of Omaha, NE writes in a letter-to-the-editor to Omaha World Herald:

As an attorney you learn that it is against the law, despite freedom of speech, to trip a fire alarm when there is no emergency. The classic case you study in law school is when someone yelled fire when there was no fire. It is against the law.

In this case President Donald Trump, during his campaign, invented an emergency at the southern border.

We are faced with a situation much like we did with the Jews seeking asylum in the U.S. at the start of World War II. This country shamefully turned away the Jews and did not grant requests for asylum and, even more shamefully, in at least one case refused to let a refugee boat dock in the United States. It is believed by historians that those actions were taken due to prejudice against the Jews. The results in part led to mass extermination and are a huge black mark in our history.

The immigrants at the border are for the most part facing the same terror. This is not a national emergency; it is political gamesmanship.

We need to clearly indicate what border areas they can cross as they do not want to illegally cross. We need to have living facilities and a court system large enough and staffed with adequate resources to fairly handle their legal claims. A wall is no solution. Instead, it is barbaric. It forces Mexico to care for persons it is ill-equipped financially to support.

I would encourage our representatives not to support a declaration of a national emergency and instead introduce or support legislation to afford these persons whose safety is endangered in their native home to seek a protected right we have constitutionally recognized to support them from death and harm in their homeland. Finally, they should support legislation making it unlawful to separate parents from their children.

This is the time for our leaders to show leadership and not to follow Trump’s campaign hyperbole, which is based on appealing to racial prejudices by manufacturing a crisis.

As a Washington Post editorial stated this weekend, “the Senate must decide whether it will defend its prerogatives from this wayward White House … For the good of the country — and out of institutional self-respect — senators should reject Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration.”

In announcing his intention to vote for the resolution against President Trump’s declaration, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) detailed his reasons in an op-ed on the Fox News website, titled “I support President Trump, but I can’t support this National Emergency Declaration.

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.

…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. Moreover, the broad principle of separation of powers in the Constitution delegates the power of the purse to Congress. This turns that principle on its head.

…I must vote how my principles dictate. My oath is to the Constitution, not to any man or political party. I stand with the president often, and I do so with a loud voice. Today, I think he’s wrong, not on policy, but in seeking to expand the powers of the presidency beyond their constitutional limits. I understand his frustration. Dealing with Congress can be pretty difficult sometimes. But Congress appropriates money, and his only constitutional recourse, if he does not like the amount they appropriate, is to veto the bill.