So we finally have something resembling a deal on border security, although this kind of depends how strictly you want to define “resembling.”
According to Fox News, there’s money for a border wall, although far less than the $5.7 billion that the president wanted. It will pay for 55 miles of border fencing, provided that border fencing is in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.
Well, at least that’s a fairly busy sector along the border. Except that there’s, um, a poison pill in there that means local officials along the border, officials who are often times liberal, have the final say on where the wall gets built.
In short, what the Republicans got out of this was very little. Which is why President Donald Trump says he’ll sign the bill but will also use an executive action — including possibly a national emergency — to get money for the wall.
“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, according to Fox News.
“The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”
You may perhaps be able to guess that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t very happy — and she’s warning that future Democratic presidents might use the emergency power to get around the Second Amendment.
“A Democratic president can declare emergencies, as well,” the speaker told reporters in the Capitol Building, according to The Hill. “So the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.”
She also invoked the anniversary of the Parkland massacre to make her point.
“Let’s talk about today: The one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America,” the speaker said. “That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would.
“But a Democratic president can do that.”
Let’s first be clear: The National Emergencies Act gives the president enormous powers and latitude in terms of what they want to declare an emergency. However, to quote Uncle Ben Parker — the most famous fictional character to never make it out of the first issue of the first issue of the comic book he’s a part of — “With great power comes great responsibility.” Trump should also remember the Golden Rule of politics: Do unto others as they’ve done unto you.
That being said, while using the National Emergencies Act to fund the wall may open a political Pandora’s Box in many ways, it doesn’t abrogate the Constitution. It doesn’t mean a Democrat can use the National Emergencies Act to ban firearms or to significantly limit access to them. There’s a whole ream of case law related to Heller v. D.C. that says otherwise, but nice try.
Sadly, she’s not the only one who’s looking at that route, either.
Gun violence is a national emergency
Climate Change is a national emergency
Income inequality is a national emergency
Access to healthcare is a national emergency
Building a wall on the southern border is not.
— Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (@repcleaver) February 14, 2019
Again, there’s always the Pandora’s Box danger here. We don’t want to discount that. However, the only reason we’re talking about this emergency is the fact that the Democrats refuse to fully fund a border wall we needed decades ago. Furthermore, after a shutdown and negotiations, they still don’t get that we need the wall. Like it or not, this is an emergency, inasmuch as this is something that America has needed for decades and which the Democrats refuse to fund.
It’s also constitutional. That’s something that abrogating the Second Amendment isn’t. As for things like income inequality and access to health care, good luck solving those via a national emergency.
But here’s the biggest difference: If Trump declares a national emergency to secure the southern border, he’s doing so to uphold his responsibility as commander-in-chief to secure and protect our country. What Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats want to do, when it comes to guns, is to use emergency powers to ignore the Constitution.
There’s a huge difference, and it’s one that Democrats and other gun-grabbers can’t ever seem to grasp. But it doesn’t matter to them. After all, this is what they’ve wanted for years.