Trump’s emergency declaration explained: Don’t expect fast border-wall cash
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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared an emergency on Friday to commandeer money for his southern border war — but nothing will happen fast to free up the cash.
The only thing that could happen right away is a House and Senate vote to rescind the declaration, with margins big enough to sustain a Trump veto. Otherwise, it could take months at the least for expected lawsuits to be resolved and for money to be fully reprogrammed.
Mexico and now Congress has declined to fully fund Trump’s wall, triggering the declaration.
Democrats said the president is making up facts to justify his declaration.
The various credible fact-checking outfits all said — based on government data — that Trump’s assertions about migrant invasions and drugs smuggling into the U.S. used to justify his action were not true.
Trump, taking press questions on Friday, dived into a rabbit hole in a bizarre riff when asked what he based his facts on.
“So your own government stats are wrong, are you saying?
Trump said, “No, no. I use many stats. I use many stats.”
Trump was asked, “Could you share those stats with us?”
“Let me tell you, you have stats that are far worse than the ones that I use. But I use many stats, but I also use Homeland Security.”
The question of whether there is a real border emergency matter will likely end up in the Supreme Court.
Here’s what’s probably next …
•A debate among Democrats about whether to push ahead to override Trump’s emergency declaration.
The National Emergencies Act, effective in 1976, gives Congress the power to terminate a presidential declaration — a law intended to check presidential power.
The House and Senate would have to pass resolutions. In this case, the legislation would start in the Democratic House and then be sent to the Republican Senate, which would have 15 days to act.
On Sunday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said on ABC’s “This Week,” there were enough GOP votes in the Senate for a resolution to pass, but not the two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.
Duckworth added, “Now, whether we have enough for an override and veto, that’s a different story. But frankly, I think there’s enough people in the Senate who are concerned that what he’s doing is robbing from the military” to build the wall.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet said if she wants the House to move right away on a resolution to rescind — or to sue Trump in court.
A Democratic aide told me Sunday, when it comes to Pelosi’s next move, “stay tuned — no clarity yet on this.”
•Multiple federal lawsuits, from states, border landowners and special-interest groups.
On Saturday, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Trump administration in U.S. District Court in Washington.
On Sunday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on ABC’s “This Week” that a legal challenge will be undertaken “definitely and imminently.”
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is “reaching out to Attorney General Becerra’s staff as we review our options,” his press secretary Annie Thompson told the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday.