February 16 – State of Emergency
President Trump signed the funding bill that prevented a shutdown. He also declared a state of emergency. This step was presented as a last-ditch effort to fund the wall if Congress didn’t give him what he asked for. I think he intended to do it all along since he is seeking to free up is more than he asked Congress.
The National Emergencies Act of 1976 gives the president many special powers during a state of emergency. Among them are the powers to use funds dedicated for military construction for a different purpose. Fifty-one declarations have been made under the law while thirty-two are still in effect. Until now, all but one dealt with restrictions on foreign countries and citizens. President Obama issued one during a flu epidemic.
I believe he has set a dangerous precedent by using his powers as commander-in-chief to thwart the will of Congress. We can expect future Democratic president to take this step with climate change, gun violence and a host of other issues. Many who are cheering him claim to love the Constitution. They don’t mind an interference with the system of checks and balances as long as a Republican does it.
I also believe it is a political mistake. Like the shutdown, Trump’s action has nothing to do with the wall. He seems to have made a decision that his reelection should be based solely on this one issue. That’s what he did with the last election. As a result, Nancy Pelosi is back in power. One thing he has going for his is all the ridiculous things Democrats are doing.