Emergency Declaration is Abuse of Authority

Statement by Kathleen Rest, Executive Director, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Feb 15, 2019

 WASHINGTON (February 15, 2019)—President Donald Trump declared a national emergency today to tap billions of dollars to build a border wall after Congress refused to allocate that funding in the spending bill it passed to avert another government shutdown.

Below is a statement by Kathleen Rest, Executive Director, Union of Concerned Scientists.

"An emergency declaration by the president of the United States is unwarranted in so many ways. Hijacking taxpayer dollars for a pet project is a clear abuse of authority. Beyond the usurpation of constitutional and congressional authority, the declaration further allows the president to ignore laws that Congress passed to protect the environment. The fencing is demonstrably detrimental to wildlife and is useless to border security and meeting humanitarian needs.

"The failure to deliver on a campaign promise might be alarming to the president, but it certainly isn't an emergency for the country. Trump himself acknowledged this when he said, 'I didn't need to do this, but I'd rather do it much faster.'

"Congress decides how money is spent. The president has been unable to convince Congress that a border wall is a good use of funds. The discussion should end there.

"Congress should act forcefully to maintain the balance of power within government."