House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), started the process of lifting President Trump’s declaration of emergency. In a letter circulated Wednesday, Pelosi urged lawmakers to sign Rep. Joaquin Castro’s (D-Texas) resolution, which will be introduced Friday, to end the emergency declaration.
Castro, who is the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHS), said in a Feb. 14 media release that Trump bypassing Congress and declaring a national emergency declaration to obtain funds for border security would set a “dangerous precedent regarding the constitutional balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches.”
In a “Dear Colleague” letter, Pelosi writes, “President Trump’s emergency declaration proclamation undermines the separation of powers and Congress’s power of the purse, a power exclusively reserved by the text of the Constitution to the first branch of government, the Legislative branch, a branch co-equal to the Executive.”
She then invites members to sign onto a resolution, “reporting it out of committee within 15 calendar days and considering it on the Floor within 3 calendar days following that,” whereupon it will go to the Senate.
“All Members take an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated. We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the President’s assault.”
The resolution is likely to pass in the Democratic-controlled House, but Democrats face an uphill battle in mustering the necessary votes from Republicans – let alone a veto-proof majority – to secure its passage in the Senate. Still, the proposal could become a thorny issue for some of the moderate Senate Republicans who have criticized the president for bypassing Congress and its constitutional power of the purse.
Last month, President Trump signed a spending bill to keep the government open, but added an emergency declaration to procure funds for a border wall that was not funded by Congress. The move was met with strong push-back from Democrats and a handful of Republicans who felt it was an overreach of power.
Pelosi argued in the letter that members have an obligation to uphold the power of the legislative branch.
Castro’s bill already has more than 90 supporters, according to a report on Reuters, and is likely to receive ample support in the Democratic majority.