Photo: President Trump Delivers his 2019 State of the Union Address to Congress. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
This is a complete disaster.
10 days after the best speech President Trump has ever made— his second State of the Union Address— we are back to the federal government making decisions that will ultimately be detrimental to future politics.
The Spending Bill
A few weeks ago, a continuing resolution was signed to open the federal government for three weeks and finally give 800,000 furloughed workers their paychecks. This meant that the divided congress had 21 days to come up with a plan to fully fund the government and give President Trump the border wall funding he has been asking for.
Lo and behold— congress drops a 1,100-page document the night before the government would shut down again, only giving the president a little less than 1.4 billion for the border wall (not at all enough to fully find it). On top of that, this bill weakens the ability of ICE to do its job (despite giving it a finding increase). House and Senate members at the time had no clue what provisions were hidden in this bill, as no sane person can adequately and carefully go through all of those pages one night before an intelligent decision to vote ‘yes or no’ needed to be made.
Regardless, Congress crammed this spending bill through— 83-16 in the Senate and 300-128 in the House. Do they expect the American people to not question the details of what it contains? Notable Republicans like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), and many others are completely correct to vote against this measure— Congress should have done much better.
Not only did President Trump sign this bill, he is also declaring a national emergency as the wall is not being entirely funded. This emergency will undoubtedly be challenged in federal court, as there are many questions regarding the constitutionality of this decision.
The National Emergency
Two things can be correct at one: 1) anyone who says that declaring a national emergency is unconstitutional is unequivocally wrong, and 2) declaring a national emergency is extremely unintelligent. Every single president in modern history has declared multiple national emergencies— it was either unbeknownst to the American public, or U.S. citizens have simply forgotten.
However, those surrounding the president failed to inform him that singing the spending bill potentially undercuts the very emergency he would eventually declare. How? Well since 1,100 pages were crammed onto the congressional floors to be considered in one night— not many people understand the presidential limitations of the bill when it comes to building a border wall.
Daniel Horowitz of the Conservative Review recently stated that “this bill limits the president’s ability to construct “barriers” to just the Rio Grande Valley sector and only bollard fencing, not concrete walls of any kind. There’s no ability to adapt”.
What does this mean? Courts could decide that Trump may not be able to even use his national emergency powers to build the wall as the bill he signed limits where and how the federal government can execute this project. Remember, this spending bill would have judicial priority as it sets precedents which could supersede those of the National Emergencies Act which was signed in 1976.
On top of that, Horowitz reminds us that under the provisions of this bill, the federal government must consult local elected officials when it comes to building the border wall— and that state officials have de facto veto power on whether or not they will build the wall in their regions. Congratulations, now radical leftists can cut against the wishes of the federal government— and congress allowed it.
Moreover, this spending bill contains detrimental provisions which blatantly undercut what conservatives believe. It doubles the amount of HB-2 non-agricultural visas instead of leaving that issue to the states to decide. This bill allows amnesty for cartel smugglers, as it prevents the deportation of anyone who sponsors unaccompanied children, as a lot of these “sponsors” happen to be child sex traffickers.
Furthermore, this bill helps contribute to the catch and release politics conservative abhor by adding “another $40 million for the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, which moves asylum seekers to facilities in the interior of the country, where they are usually released.”
Do you still want to call this spending bill a win? Us Republicans should not try and spin this to benefit our agenda— this bill is disastrous.
What’s the biggest issue pertaining to this national emergency? It sets the precedent of a future president declaring an emergency when he or she does not get what they want. Sure, this national emergency in theory benefits Republicans and our agenda— but what happens when a radical leftist president doesn’t get what they want and declares a national emergency to overrule congressional authority on an issue. This doesn’t sound too appealing anymore, does it?
This border wall needs to be built, but by golly this is one of the worst pathways for the federal government to have taken. If this is not a textbook definition for needing a limited federal government, then what is?
Keyden Smith-Herold is the Chief Editor of Freedomists, The Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Analytical (dailyanalytical.com) and a contributor to The Daily Caller,