Udall, Collins, Shaheen, Murkowski Introduce Bipartisan Resolution to Terminate President’s National Emergency Declaration

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), along with U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), introduced a bipartisan joint resolution to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration and uphold the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution. The resolution is a companion resolution to H.J.Res 46, which passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 245-182 earlier this week.

On February 15, the president declared a national emergency at the southern border, which would divert funding already appropriated for military construction and other projects toward a border wall --despite the fact that Congress alone holds the “power of the purse,” to appropriate taxpayer funds. The joint resolution introduced by the senators today would terminate the national emergency declaration and uphold the separation of powers.

“There is no legal or factual basis to justify the president’s emergency declaration because there is no national security emergency at our southern border. But regardless how you feel about the president or his wall proposal, this declaration is an end run around the Constitution, designed to raid critical military funding to for money that Congress did not provide, after a long and difficult debate just a few weeks ago,” said Udall. “Using the National Emergency Act to shift defense funding to a domestic project is completely unprecedented. No administration and no president, Democratic or Republican, should be allowed to circumvent Congress’ power and spend taxpayer money by decree. We must honor our promise to serve the American people by together asserting our role as an independent and co-equal branch of government. The Constitution and our system of checks and balances demands it.”

“Let me be clear: The question before us is not whether to support or oppose the wall, or to support or oppose the President. Rather, it is: Do we want the Executive Branch—now or in the future—to hold a power that the Founders deliberately entrusted to Congress?  I strongly support protecting the institutional prerogatives of the Senate, and the system of checks and balances that is central to the structure of our government,” said Collins.  “The President’s Emergency Declaration is ill-advised precisely because it attempts to short-cut the process of checks and balances by usurping Congress’ authority.  This Resolution blocks that overreach, and I urge my colleagues to support it.”

“Our founding fathers gave the power of the purse to Congress, and it’s time for the Senate to follow the House in reaffirming that constitutional authority,” said Shaheen. “Further, there are many very real and present military threats from our adversaries, like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, which is why the President’s declaration to pull critical funding from defense construction projects to pay for his ineffective border wall is so dangerous. The funding President Trump is trying to redirect could come from important projects at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the New Hampshire National Guard – that’s unacceptable. I hope we can move quickly on this resolution in the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote.”

“This is not about whether or not I support President Trump on border security. I absolutely agree we must address security along our southern border, which is why Congress just appropriated $22 billion for border security– from investments in physical barriers to technology, custody enhancements, and law enforcement personnel. This resolution is about making sure that we respect the lanes of authorities that are laid out in the U.S. Constitution,” said Murkowski. “This national emergency declaration creates greater precedent for expansion of executive authority by legislative acquiescence. The power to appropriate rests with the legislative branch and we are right to defend that. We have a solid system of checks and balances in this country, as long as we respect the powers and authorities of each branch of government.”