On Friday, hours after Congress sent him an emergency funding package aimed at averting another government shutdown, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, enabling him to do a Congressional end-around so he could build additional barriers at America’s southern border with Mexico.
Here’s how Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation reacted to the news. It will be updated as we receive additional comment.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa:
President Trump’s national emergency declaration is a complete abuse of power. No President can be allowed to spend taxpayer dollars without authorization from Congress.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) February 14, 2019
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.:
“I made no secret of the fact that I hoped the president would choose to avoid unilateral action and work with Congress on a legislative solution to secure the border. My staff and I are reviewing the president’s declaration and its implications very closely.”
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District:
“It sets a bad precedent for the Executive Branch to make such declarations. Legislating must remain in the legislative branch.”
U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-2nd District:
President Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the southern border is a disturbing abuse of power to serve his political aims.
— Rep. Brendan Boyle (@CongBoyle) February 15, 2019
U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District:
I oppose President Trump’s forthcoming “emergency” declaration & fully expect that it will be overturned in court.
— Dwight Evans (@RepDwightEvans) February 14, 2019
U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District:
Declaring a national emergency to build a costly, ineffective wall is absolutely wrong – especially when doing so will draw funds away from genuine emergencies and disaster relief efforts. I will continue to defend our Constitution and work #ForThePeople. https://t.co/nvHQWmSkzV
— Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (@RepDean) February 14, 2019
U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5th District:
…under the circumstances. Those who govern through fear only seek to divide us and the American people deserve better. I look forward to using opportunities to legislate and exercise Congress’ power of oversight to fight for the issues important to our district and country.
— Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (@RepMGS) February 15, 2019
U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th District:
Declaring a national emergency is irresponsible, draws from funding already appropriated for other vital programs, puts an unnecessary strain on our troops, and could lead to unintended consequences for our national priorities. This is not how our government should work. 3/3
— Chrissy Houlahan (@RepHoulahan) February 14, 2019
U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District:
My statement on tonight’s vote: pic.twitter.com/xqnvYxT46E
— Rep. Susan Wild (@RepSusanWild) February 15, 2019
U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8th District:
As a senior member of @AppropsDems, I’m concerned about protecting the spending power of Congress. And as an American, I’m really concerned about the constitutionality of this kind of declaration, as it threatens one of the core pillars of our republic: the separation of powers.
— Matt Cartwright (@RepCartwright) February 15, 2019
U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-9th District:
Why I opposed the spending bill on the House floor last night: pic.twitter.com/SqPolCEZP2
— Congressman Dan Meuser (@RepMeuser) February 15, 2019
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District:
“President Trump has every right to invoke a national emergency to secure our borders – a right afforded him by the National Emergency Act of 1976, which several presidents, of both parties, have invoked as well. He’s left no other choice, since both chambers and parties of Congress, once again, failed to act to secure our borders.”
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District:
“Emergency declarations should not be taken lightly. President Trump has made a strong case that there’s a humanitarian crisis at our southern border – and I agree. It’s Congress’ duty to ensure the President is acting within his constitutional authority to address that crisis. After research and consideration, I believe Trump is acting within his authority to take this action,” Smucker said in a statement.
“Emergency declarations do not allow the President to circumvent the Constitution. President Trump’s exercise of national emergency powers is limited in this instance. He is not creating a new law or allocating additional funding. He is merely re-appropriating money that has already been set aside for other projects. It will be important that Congress continues to monitor and review the president’s role in this process to ensure the actions taken are within constitutional and statutory authority,” he said.
U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District:
“President Trump has signaled that if he signs this measure he will then have to take unilateral action to provide the additional wall funding that is necessary for our national security. He should not be forced to do that. Congress has a responsibility to provide adequate funding to protect the American people rather than have the President bail us out.
“Going forward, Congress must redouble its efforts starting today to formulate serious legislative solutions that will stop the influx of opioids into our country,properly fund the wall, secure our border, and most importantly, keep Americans safe. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee I look forward to working with my colleagues on this vital matter. This is my responsibility as charged by the citizens of Pennsylvania’s 13th District.”
U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District:
I stand with the President in his commitment to secure our border. Congressional Democrats failed the American people by refusing to provide adequate funding for barriers and I support President Trump’s necessary actions to end the humanitarian crisis and secure our border.
— Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (@GReschenthaler) February 15, 2019
U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District:
National Emergencies are about “blocking” harm to Americans/American interests. 10 declared by Pres Obama. Why does a #wall that would block fentanyls/similar drugs that killed >28,000 Americans of the 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 in communities across the US not qualify?
— Glenn 'GT' Thompson (@CongressmanGT) February 15, 2019
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District:
“I share the President Trump’s primary priority and responsibility – that is, the safety and security of the American people. He persistently sought to work with Congress on a satisfactory deal to secure our nation’s borders, and Democrats consistently refused to negotiate in good faith,” Kelly said in a statement.
“They focused on politics over sound policy, cynically trying to prevent the President from keeping his promise to the American people. This emergency declaration is a last resort to address the humanitarian and national security crisis we have at our southern border, and I support what he is trying to do. It is my hope that as we move forward with this debate that further border security enhancements will be implemented through the legislative process. But, it will be up to Nancy Pelosi as to whether or not her caucus will continue to “resist” or start helping us protect American families,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-17th District: Could not immediately be reached for comment.
U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-18th District:
“The President is bound and determined to build his wall, but declaring an imaginary emergency based on misleading information so that he can take money from the military budget to pay for it is a terrible move on many levels,” Doyle said in a statement. “It discredits the Presidency and undermines our Constitutional institutions by circumventing Congressional control over federal spending.
“To the extent that the government is going to spend more money on border security, that money could be better spent on new technology and more personnel. Finally, taking money from military projects to pay for a wall means that other national security needs will go unmet,” he said.
Capital-Star Washington reporter Robin Bravender contributed to this story.