Trump signs bill to keep government funded, declares national emergency


Nick Jahnke, Senior News Reporter

On Friday, Feb. 15, Trump declared a national emergency on the border, asserting that the movement of criminals and illegal immigrants from Mexico to the U.S. constituted a reasonable threat to national security.

Last Thursday night, Feb. 14, President Trump signed a spending bill that provides funding for nine federal departments through Sept. 30, 2019. The bill will keep over 800,000 federal workers paid into the fall, but only includes $1.4 billion towards building additional bollard fencing (bollard fences are described as concrete-filled steel posts, strong enough to impede vehicles) on the border with Mexico, a fraction of the $5.7 billion Trump originally requested.

The national emergency would allow Trump to divert $3.6 billion from military construction projects, $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund, according to the New York Times.

According to the Times, he deliberately cited fictional statistics and misinformation, and when reporters challenged his assertions, he denied any statistics that didn’t support his decision.

During Trump’s announcement, he brought up the likelihood that his decision will be challenged in court. “Look, I expect to be sued,” Trump said, and proceeded to predict that his administration would likely receive a series of unfavorable rulings but eventually win in the Supreme Court.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement in response to Trump’s declaration, asserting that the national crisis is a false reality that Trump has created.

“The President’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation.  This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed president, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process,” Pelosi and Schumer said in their statement.

In a tweet, Pelosi said that the clearest sign that Trump’s emergency is fake was that he said he didn’t really need to declare it, he just did it to speed up the process.

“I could do the wall over a longer period of time, I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster,” Trump said during his announcement.

By the end of the day on Feb. 15, the advocacy group Public Citizen filed suit on behalf of three landowners in Texas whose property could be taken for the barrier. Additionally, New York and California announced they will be suing the president’s ‘vanity project,’ according to the Times.

“The President is not above the law. The Congress cannot let the President shred the Constitution,” Pelosi and Schumer said in their statement.