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Blog: Lawmakers react to declaration of national emergency

Blog: Lawmakers react to declaration of national emergency

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On Friday, President Donald Trump announced he will sign the spending bill which was approved in Congress late Thursday to keep the government open.

In turn he will also be declaring a national emergency for the southern border in efforts to build the wall and keep his campaign promise.

Here are the reactions from national and state lawmakers following the news:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement on President Trump declaring a national emergency:

“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.

“The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution. The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.

“This issue transcends partisan politics and goes to the core of the Founders’ conception for America, which commands Congress to limit an overreaching executive. The President’s emergency declaration, if unchecked, would fundamentally alter the balance of powers, inconsistent with our Founders’ vision.

“We call upon our Republican colleagues to join us to defend the Constitution. Just as both parties honored our oath to protect the American people by passing the conference committee bill, the Congress on a bipartisan basis must honor the Constitution by defending our system of checks and balances.

“The President is not above the law. The Congress cannot let the President shred the Constitution.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the following statement following President Trump’s announcement:

“President Trump’s decision to announce emergency action is the predictable and understandable consequence of Democrats’ decision to put partisan obstruction ahead of the national interest. I urge my Democratic colleagues to quickly get serious, put partisanship aside, and work with the president and our homeland security experts to provide the funding needed to secure our borders as we begin the next round of appropriations.”

In an interview with the Watertown Daily Times, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said:

“I remain committed to keeping the government open and securing the border and I support the bipartisan appropriations package,” she said, according to a statement sent to the Times. “However, I believe that declaring a national emergency is the wrong decision and will be challenged in the courts.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and presidential candidate tweeted the following: 

"Let's be clear on this: The only emergency at our border is the humanitarian one Trump created himself, by demonizing and ripping apart families. This manufactured crisis is racist, wasteful, and an outrageous abuse of power from someone too reckless and hateful to hold it."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted his reaction to the national emergency declaration early Friday afternoon:

"President Trump's emergency declaration plays politics with a humanitarian crisis. It is an outrageous abuse of power and flatly unconstitutional. We will never win by building walls."

In response to President Trump’s declaration of a National Emergency to fund the construction of a wall on the southern border, Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement:

"Declaring a National Emergency without legitimate cause could create a Constitutional crisis. This action will harm Americans across the country by diverting funds necessary to handle real emergencies and real disasters to advance the President’s personal agenda. We will not stand for this abuse of power and will fight back with every legal tool at our disposal."

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy responded via a news release Friday morning: 

"There is no national emergency. No one who subscribes to reality can claim otherwise. Crossings are historically down, billions are being spent on border security, and Congress yesterday appropriated still more. President Trump simply failed to get a deal to build his wasteful vanity wall. He failed to get a deal with Mexico, despite promising his supporters more than 200 times that Mexico would pay for it. He failed to get a deal with his own party, even during the two years when Republicans controlled all levers of government. And he failed to get a deal now. The President’s inartful failure to get a deal does not justify him manufacturing a false national emergency. And it certainly does not justify raiding funds that would strengthen our military and actually prevent drugs from entering and crippling our communities. The President appears intent on stealing money addressing threats that exist in reality for a national emergency that exists entirely in his head. How urgent can it be when the President has clumsily threatened to invoke this “emergency” since October of 2018?"

Adam Colver is the online editor at The Post-Star. He manages The Post-Star's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and He can be reached at


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