The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Shutdown Averted, but a National Emergency Looms

A spending bill will keep the government open, but President Trump hopes to gain border wall funding by declaring a state of national emergency.
Guillermo Arias
A section of the fence along the United States-Mexico border.

Congress recently passed a bipartisan spending bill, providing the United States government with enough funds to prevent another partial shutdown. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law, but he believes that it issues an unsatisfactory amount of wall funding; he plans on declaring a state of national emergency in order to gain additional finances.

On February 14, the Republican-majority Senate voted 83 to 16 in favor of passing the bill, and the Democratic-majority House of Representatives passed it 300 to 128. Notable opponents included Republican senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, along with Democratic senators and 2020 presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand.

The proposed bill grants $300 billion in government spending, allocated towards causes such as funding for drug inspection, the Internal Revenue Service, natural disaster relief, pay raises for cabinet officials, limitations on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), protections for young undocumented immigrants, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Of the $49 billion issued to the Department of Homeland Security, $1.375 billion is dedicated to constructing 55 miles of fencing along the United States-Mexico border. In December 2018, President Trump’s request for $5.7 billion in border wall funding led to a budget stalemate and a 35-day government shutdown lasting until January 2019. As this bill will provide a far lower amount, President Trump announced minutes before Thursday’s Senate vote that he plans on obtaining further funds by declaring a state of national emergency as early as February 15.

“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 Huckabee Sanders told the New York Times. “The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border and secure our great country.”

If President Trump were to make such a declaration, he could potentially draw money from sources such as the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency without requiring congressional approval.

“Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a press statement.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who supported the recent spending bill, similarly disapproves of President Trump’s planned actions and notes that the President’s prior threats to declare a national emergency were unpopular among citizens.

“The public was more opposed to the emergency declaration than they were to the wall,” Schumer commented to the New York Times. “And they were opposed to the wall.”

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About the Contributor
Emma Chiu
Emma Chiu, Coeditor in Chief
Emma Chiu is a senior, a third-year journalism student, and the coeditor in chief of The Paw Print. She strives for fair, accurate coverage and appreciates the variety of perspectives she's gained through reporting. Her work has been published in Best of SNO, The Youth Journal, and The New York Times in addition to The Paw Print. When she's not writing, Emma enjoys dancing, reading, and raising awareness for mental health.

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