“I can do it if I want” 

On Jan. 4, day 13 of the United States government’s partial shutdown over border wall funding, President Trump threatened to declare a national emergencyin an effort to use military funding to build the border wall and recruit the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to construct it.This proposal, should it come to fruition, undermines the purpose of the executive branch’s emergency powers and defies our traditional notion of checks and balances.The use of a national emergency declaration, as permitted by the National Emergencies Act of 1974, has historically been limited to situations involving acts of war or actual threats to national security. Never has a national emergency been declared in response to Congress’ hesitancy to fund an administration’s priority.

Should President Trump declare a national emergency, Congress should refuse to fund the Defense Department’s wall-building operations in future budgets.  We also expect the unlawful actions to be challenged in court.

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