Two weeks ago, I told you that I believe that there is really a crisis on the southern border and that we need to use a variety of means to secure it, including building a wall, border patrol agents and drones. This is now where I upset many Trump supporters and say that I think that the worse way to go about doing this is declaring a national emergency, even with the Democrats refusing to fund the wall.
There’s a lot of talk about whether declaring a national emergency is constitutional or not. I think Utah Senator Mike Lee sums up the issue perfectly when he says “My initial assessment is that what President Trump announced is legal. Whether or not it should be legal is a different matter. Congress has been ceding far too much power to the executive branch for decades. We should use this moment as an opportunity to start taking that power back.” For far too long, we have been willing to give the president an increasing amount of power when our side is in power. Then when the other side takes it just a few steps farther, we worry that the government is too powerful and that the President is acting like a dictator.
Trump may have not broken any laws by declaring a national emergency, but the precedent that this sets for future presidents is extremely dangerous. With this national emergency declaration, the precedent is now set for a president to just declare a national emergency for anything that he or she can’t get passed through congress. This opens the door for major reforms to things such as gun control, climate change and healthcare. Major reforms that can come through the stroke of a pen, without congressional approval.
To make matters worse, congress has now given up the power of the purse, which Constitutionally gives the power to tax and spend, strictly to the House of Representatives. This now means that the precedent is set that future presidents can redirect funds as they see fit, regardless of how congress votes.
If the President can just ignore the Constitution and redirect funds as he sees fit, where does that leave our Republic? What happens when the next president wants to redirect funds from the defense department to combat climate change? Where does this end?
Declaring national emergencies just to get things done is an extremely dangerous precedent to set. Both sides need to remember that when their guy is in power, he won’t be in power forever. Their guy may get 4 or 8 years but then chances are that someone you don’t like will get into power and then you are going to have to deal with that President acting the same way as the guy you supported.
Voters shouldn’t have to fear when a President they don’t agree with gets into office. That’s why I repeatedly argue that we must shrink the executive branch back to the confines of the Constitution and there’s no better time to do it then right now, where we should be able to get both Constitutional conservatives and far left progressives, even though it’s for very different reasons, to come together and limit the power of the presidency. In the long run, both sides would be much better off when they no longer have to fear when the other side wins power.
It’s time that we start limiting the executive branch’s power before it’s too late. Our Republic is at stake.