WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama stunned Republicans when he bypassed Congress and — relying on what he called his pen and his phone — used executive powers to enact his agenda, including protecting millions of young immigrants from deportation.
Now, with President Donald Trump proposing an even more dramatic end-run around Congress to build his promised border wall with Mexico, many Republicans are uneasily cheering him on.
The potential use of a national emergency declaration by Trump for the border wall shows the extent to which the party is willing to yield on treasured values — in this case, the constitutional separation of powers — to steer clear of confronting the White House and give the president what he wants.
It’s a different accommodation from just a few years ago. Then Republicans often called out Obama as overstepping his authority in using executive actions when Congress failed to act on White House priorities. They complained about Obama as “king,” “emperor” or “tyrant.”
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the House Freedom Caucus, said most conservatives would go along with Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency as “the last tool in the tool box” for building the wall.
“Does the president have the right and the ability to do it? Yes. Would most of us prefer a legislative option? Yes,” Meadows told reporters this week. “Most conservatives want it to be the last resort he would use. But those same conservatives, I’m sure, if it’s deployed, would embrace him as having done all he could do to negotiate with Democrats.”
Other Republicans say Trump has few options left after talks broke down at the White House over his long-promised border wall.
“This is not something you would want to do,” said Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, now the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
“But we’ve been put into this position,” he said. “The Democrats are forcing him into a choice of doing the national emergency because they won’t sit down and discuss it.”
On Saturday, the partial government shutdown will stretch in its 22nd day and Trump’s plans for ending the stalemate are shifting yet again.
Trump indicated he was slowing what had appeared to be momentum toward the national emergency declaration as the way out of the stalemate. Invoking the power would allow him to tap unspent Defence funds to build the long-promised wall along the border that was central to his presidential campaign.
On the campaign trail, the president often said at rallies that Mexico would pay for the wall. But Mexico has refused forcing Trump to ask Congress for the money instead. Trump walked out of negotiations this week when Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats refused to give, saying they support dollars for border security just not the big wall Trump envisions. They call the wall ineffective and say it’s a symbol that does not reflect the nation’s values.
After having talked for days about invoking the national emergency power to unleash the funds, the president hit pause Friday. “I’m not going to do it so fast,” …read more
Source:: Nationalpost – News