When President Donald Trump said he would declare a national emergency to divert more federal funds toward building on the southern border, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn't say anything.
"A Democrat president can declare emergencies as well , "Pelosi said at her weekly press conference, as news broke that Trump would sign a bipartisan spending deal to keep the government open but also take executive action on the border.
Pelosi is playing to some Republicans' biggest fears around executive power : that a Democratic president would push through policies on everything from healthcare to control through the White House instead of Congress, should trump lose the presidency by 2020.
"If the president can declare an emergency on something he has created as an emergency ̵
"You want to talk about a national emergency? Let's talk about today. The one year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of violence in America. That's a national emergency. Why don't you declare that emergency, Mr. President? … A Democratic president could. " pic.twitter.com/NDvhb339aT
– Kyle Griffin (@ kylegriffin1) February 14, 2019
Republicans have already voiced their concerns. In early January, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box that he and his colleagues are wary of the long-term consequences.
"Tomorrow, the national security emergency might be , you know, climate change, so let's seize fossil fuel plants or something, ”he said. “Maybe it's an exaggeration, but my point is we've got to be very careful about endorsing broad uses of executive power in our republic.” Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who now says he will support Trump's declaration on the border, two weeks ago said Congress would work to avoid a national emergency declaration, reportedly privately advising Trump against it.
But McConnell seems to have lost this debate. Instead, Trump is the advice of some of his most ardent allies in Congress, the house conservatives in the Freedom Caucus, who have put their own qualms on excessive executive power to get Trump on the border wall – a pet project that
Rising Democratic stars are putting forward a bold agenda – the Green New Deal, comprehensive campaign finance reform, Medicare-for-all proposals. All the ideas face up to the battle in Congress, where legislation needs to pass only the 60th vote in the Senate, but also gain support across a wide range of Democratic ideologies in the House. But if they can just declare a national emergency …
"You want to talk about a national emergency?" Pelosi said. “Let's talk about today – the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of an epidemic of gun violence in America.”