The partial government shutdown is into its third week, with no real hope of an actual compromise happening soon. President Donald Trump has demanded some $5 billion in the budget for a wall spanning the southern border, but Congress has not sent him a budget with said allocation. Trump said he would not sign any budget that does not include the money, and he also said that he would proudly own the shutdown.
Now, the president has made mention of declaring a national emergency over the border wall — and using military funds to build it. Several people, including Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, said that president Trump does not have the authority to declare such an emergency to get the barrier built.
According to a Fox Business report, on Monday, Judge Napolitano told host Maria Bartiromo why the president does not have such powers.
“The Supreme Court has made it very clear – even in times of emergency – the president of the United States of America cannot spend money unless it’s been authorized by the Congress.”
Yesterday, the Inquisitr reported that Representative Adam Schiff also used similar reasoning as to why Trump cannot usurp the will of Congress and use other funds to build the border wall, which he initially promised — during his 2016 campaign — that Mexico would pay for.
On Sunday, before leaving the White House for Camp David, Trump told reporters, “I may declare a national emergency dependent on what’s going to happen over the next few days.”
JUST IN: Pence says White House counsel's office is looking at legality of declaring a national emergency over the border wall, adds that Trump has not made a decision whether to do so pic.twitter.com/VEDjelg0tT— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 7, 2019
It seems that he may not. A precedent was set during the Korean War in 1950. A strike led to President Harry Truman wanting to nationalize the steel industry. However, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the president does not have the power to take such drastic spending measures unilaterally. Only Congress is able to approve such expenditures.
While there’s no compromise in sight for the current standoff between the Congressional and Executive branches of the U.S. government, Judge Napolitano offered a reasonable possibility — but it is one that would require Trump to temporarily back down, and to approve a budget without the wall funding.
The judge said, “I think the president knows that we need comprehensive immigration and border security reform. And the time to do that is not when there is a gun to somebody’s head… but in a patient atmosphere of a debate – a great national debate about how we want to treat those who want to come here.”
For now, there’s no word on when the government may reopen, and hundreds of thousands of federal employees are furloughed or working without pay. Without a deal, things could become unmanageable for some workers.