Wyoming Delegation Weighs In On Emergency Declaration

Mar 1, 2019

This week the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a measure rejecting President Trump's emergency declaration so he can build his long-desired wall. There also seems to be enough opposition in the Senate to reject it, but neither chamber looks to have enough votes to override Trump's promised veto. But Senator John Barrasso is all in with Trump. 

"I'm also concerned about border security. The president has promised to secure the border, I heard about it again in Wyoming this weekend, and I'm committed to support the president's efforts to secure the border," said Barrasso.

And Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney is also on board. She said the emergency declaration is needed because Democrats refused to negotiate and give Trump the funds he requested.

"We could have avoided being in this situation if they had been willing to negotiate in good faith and come to some agreement. The vote wasn't unexpected and I think you've just got to make clear people understand it was political," said Cheney.

Wyoming's Senior Senator Mike Enzi said he's still making up his mind as to how he'll vote.

This week the White House sent the Vice President and a Department of Justice lawyer to the Capitol to meet with Republican Senators, many of whom raised serious questions about the legality of the president using an emergency declaration to go around Congress. Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and a group of other Republicans are asking Trump to rescind the emergency declaration.

"It's unnecessary, unwise and inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution," said Alexander.

Cheney disagrees. She said in the seventies Congress set up this process for emergency's and she says it's working as planned.

"I just disagree with that. I think the statutes clear. The process is clear and in each instance, Congress has to make the determination and Congress has the ability to approve it or disapprove it. And we're operating in terms of what the statute lays out and in each case, it's up to the Congress to make that determination of whether or not they want to terminate the emergency."

Only 13 Republicans joined every Democrat in rejecting the president's emergency declaration this week. Republican Congressman Justin Amash was one of them. He said Republicans like Cheney and Barrasso who were up in arms when former President Obama claimed executive privilege are being hypocrites.

"I think many of my colleagues know they're being inconsistent, but they feel that politically they're in a bind."

Amash added that many Republicans are afraid to oppose Trump on anything.

"If they oppose the president they run afoul of many Republican voters in their districts, and in large measure, they're responsible for creating this situation by always supporting the president even where they disagreed with him. They've, in some sense, trained all their voters to think that the president is doing the right thing all the time," said Amash

But Senator Barrasso brushes aside the criticism. He said Senate Republicans are unified even if a few vocal members are opposed.

"There is uniform agreement in the conference that we need to secure the border and there's an emergency at the border, and border security and national security are tied together. There are different ways to accomplish the goal, but we are united in the goal of securing the border," said Barrasso.

Some Republicans are worried that a future Democratic President could use this new precedent set by Trump to go after people's guns or even to declare climate change a national emergency, but Barrasso doesn't share that fear.

"Whether what the president is doing goes forward or not, and I believe it will, I don't think that changes what a Democrat liberal president who has taken this far left, hard left turn - where the presidential candidates seem to be going - I wouldn't be surprised if on the campaign trail they promise to use executive powers in ways to do things that I wouldn't like at all," said Barrasso.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure in the coming weeks unless the president decides to rescind the emergency declaration.