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Republicans divided on whether Trump should declare national emergency to get border wall funds

As President Donald Trump weighs declaring a national emergency to secure border wall funds, congressional R...

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 8:11 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2019 8:11 PM

As President Donald Trump weighs declaring a national emergency to secure border wall funds, congressional Republicans have been split this week on whether the President should use such executive power.

Some senior Republican members have cautioned against declaring a national emergency to get funds for the border wall he's not getting from Congress.

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"I think the President should not do it," Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and the most senior GOP member of the chamber, told CNN on Friday. "I think as a member of Congress I ought to be very selfish about the constitutional powers that we have to appropriate money. I think it might be a bad precedent."

He added, "I'm not saying he doesn't have the power but the most important thing here is he might be letting the Democrats off the hook."

The President had pushed for nearly $6 billion in funding for his border wall, while congressional Democrats have agreed to roughly $1 billion in border security -- but without any new funding for the wall. Both sides have so far refused to budge, leading Trump to toy with the possibility of declaring a national emergency as the partial government shutdown continues.

Rep. Mark Meadows, a close conservative ally of the President, argued it may be necessary to declare a national emergency due to the impasse between congressional Democrats and the White House.

"Democrats continue to refuse to negotiate in good faith or appropriate any money for border barriers," Meadows tweeted Friday morning. "If they won't compromise, POTUS should use asset forfeiture money or other discretionary fees to start construction. If not, he should declare a national emergency. It's time."

The National Emergencies Act of 1974 lays out how a president can activate special powers during a crisis. Trump has said his lawyers have advised him he's within his rights to take the step. Congress, however, can undo a state of emergency declaration, though it would likely require a veto-proof majority.

GOP Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi told CNN on Wednesday that declaring a national emergency "would be a mistake" and that members have communicated that Trump in a number of ways.

"Frankly, I'm not crazy about going down that path," Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranked Republican in the chamber, told CNN Thursday morning. "Inevitably, I suspect it probably gets challenged in court."

A key ally to the President, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, called on Trump to use emergency powers to fund the border wall's construction.

But even as he supports the President's push to invoke national emergency powers, Graham acknowledged to reporters on Thursday that "you're going to get challenged in court for sure as to whether or not this fits the statutory definition of an emergency.

Sen. John Cornyn told CNN on Monday that declaring a national emergency would make the situation "more complicated," and that court hearings and litigation "could carry this on for weeks and months and years."

Other GOP lawmakers are concerned over the possibility that the President might pull from military funds if he were to declare a national emergency. Under US law, Trump could use funds "that have not been obligated" within the Department of Defense's budget for a national emergency.

Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, made it clear Tuesday that he feels border security should be a responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Pentagon.

When asked if he thinks the GOP conference would back a national emergency declaration, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise told reporters Thursday that Republicans would like to see the border wall issue resolved legislatively rather than through emergency powers.

"But at the end of the day, we need to secure our border," he added.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 252475

Reported Deaths: 5521
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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