Trump may declare national emergency to resolve impasse on wall

US President Donald J Trump. Source: Washington Post

TTF: US President Donald Trump said there is a “good chance” he’ll declare a national emergency to build his proposed border wall and said he would use his State of the Union address next week to once again make a case for the barrier (see news item below).

Speaking to the New York Times, last Thursday, the president declared that he has all but given up on negotiating with Congress and will proceed with the wall plan on his own.

The impasse between the Democrat controlled Congress and the Republican led Senate resulted in the longest government shutdown in US history following Trump’s refusal to green-light any budget unless it factored in a US5.7 billion allocation to fund the wall.

Last Friday, the Senate and House unanimously passed a bill to temporarily end the shutdown, after which President Trump signed the bill into law.

The National Emergencies Act (NEA) is a federal law passed in 1976 to stop open-ended states of national emergency and formalize the power of Congress to provide certain checks and balances on the emergency powers of the President.

The Act empowers the President to activate special powers during a crisis but imposes certain procedural formalities when invoking such powers.

WASHINGTON: United States (US) President Donald Trump said there is a “good chance” he’ll declare a national emergency to build his proposed border wall and said he would use his State of the Union address next week to once again make a case for the barrier.

“I think there’s a good chance we’ll have to do that,” he said of the declaration, which he has threatened for weeks. “We have very strong legal standing.”

The emergency declaration could help the Trump administration free up billions of dollars in construction money for the wall, but it will also almost certainly face legal challenges that could redefine the president’s ability to use emergency powers.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is working against a 15th of February 2019 deadline to produce a deal to fund the government and avoid another shutdown. Trump has demanded the final product include funding for his proposed border wall but has also said Republicans on the committee are “wasting their time” trying to negotiate with Democrats.

Trump is debating how to handle wall funding while he is also planning a pair of high-profile meetings with foreign leaders. Trump told reporters he may meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month after an expected summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The U.S. and China are working to head off an escalating trade war, and the president hosted a delegation of Chinese officials on Thursday.

“I’m thinking about it,” Trump said of the possible Xi meeting. “It could happen.”

Trump dismissed questions about the widely reported location of his meeting with Kim – Da Nang, Vietnam. The president declined to confirm those reports.

In one of his few public appearances this week, the president met in the Oval Office with officials from the Department of Homeland Security as well as advocates working on human trafficking. To make the case for his proposed border wall, Trump has often lamented what he has described as a crisis of human trafficking across the border.

“People have no idea how bad it’s become,” Trump said. “The case for building a wall is everything.”


Human trafficking is problem at the border, but advocates have questioned some of the president’s more colorful descriptions of that issue – such as his assertion women are brought over the border bound with duct tape. The Human Trafficking Legal Center found a large number of trafficking victims were not entering the country illegally but rather had contracts to work as seasonal agricultural workers and domestic workers.

The president is set to depart the White House on Friday afternoon for his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, his first visit there since Thanksgiving.

Adapted from: USA Today

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