Emergency Declaration Violates Constitution

To The Reader’s Forum:

On the same day that the president approved Congress’s appropriations bill allocating $1.375 billion for border security, Donald Trump declared a “national emergency,” pursuant to the National Emergencies Act, to appropriate more money for his “wall” than Congress specifically authorized. Subsequently, Trump himself admitted that no real emergency actually existed when he said, “I didn’t need to do this.”

Under our Constitution, the “power of the purse” is vested in Congress under the Appropriations Clause and the Taxing and Spending Clause (U.S. Const. Art. I, Sec. 9, Cl. 7, and Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 1, respectively). Short of a constitutional amendment, this authority cannot be delegated, or reasonably be interpreted to have been delegated by statute, to the Executive Branch.

The president’s “national emergency” declaration to appropriate more money to his politically-motivated wall than Congress authorized is a direct usurpation of Congress’s power of the purse, a naked attempt to amend the appropriations bill that he himself signed into law which expressed the intent of both Houses of Congress.

The president is not allowed to “legislate from the Oval Office;” on the contrary, his primary job is to faithfully execute our laws as passed and as written and as interpreted by the courts.

Maurice F. Baggiano, J.D.