LaserGuy wrote:Most of those seem to be primarily be about blocking assets to foreign nationals. I'm not sure specifically why that requires emergency action, but apparently it's a thing.
Mainly because it allows the administration to act quickly and with a lot of freedom... if you want to block somebody's assets for example, you typically don't to spend the time waiting for Congress to write a bill, discuss the bill, vote on it, review it, vote on it again, etc, etc. So they declare an emergency and just do it.
I think the difference here is that Trump would be using the state of emergency specifically to subvert the legislative process and fund one of his pet projects.
Fair point. That is a concern, to be sure... I guess my point was that a lot of people seem to be under the impression that a) declaring a state of emergency is something huge that never happens, and b) it gives the president carte blanche powers to do whatever he wants. Neither of those things is true.
Congress has the power to nullify a declared state of emergency; and while it's unlikely that the Senate would do so to prevent a wall from being built, it might be a whole different ballgame once they start trying to seize public properties for example. That would be political suicide for a lot of republican Senators and Representatives, especially in agricultural red states. Even ones that aren't on the border.
The courts can also act to block actions taken during an emergency; and in this case they almost certainly will. There will be suits filed against the emergency being declared; there will suits over the allocation of money; there will be suits filed over environmental concerns; there will be suits filed by landowners seeking to hold onto their lands... and so on and so on and so on...
Also... the declaration includes the intended actions to be taken; Trump can't just declare "emergency" and then do whatever he wants. The declaration itself will outline the building of the wall.
Finally... a declaration of emergency does not allocate funds. Trump can pay for the wall using the military, assuming he can find the money within the defense budget; but only because federal law allows the military to build during emergencies. And that is $8 billion (or whatever the number ends up being) that is no longer available for other military purposes.
It would be something akin to Obama declaring the failing healthcare system a national emergency and unilaterally imposing The Affordable Care Act.
Only if he could find funds within HHS or some other health-oriented agency that were not already obligated.
Or some future Democratic president declaring global warming a national emergency, say.
I would not be the least bit surprised if the next democratic president did just that. It would allow them to take actions - so long as they were legal and funded - without necessarily waiting for Congress.
But the problem - and this would be for healthcare as well - is that none of what they did would be permanent. It would last as long as the state of emergency.