Alexander Statement on National Emergency Declaration

Posted on March 14, 2019

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2019 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today announced he will vote to disapprove the February 15, 2019, national emergency declaration:

“I support the president on border security. I have urged him to build the 234 miles of border wall he has asked for in the fastest possible way by using $5.7 billion already approved by Congress. But his declaration to take an additional $3.6 billion that Congress has appropriated for military hospitals, barracks and schools is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I swore an oath to support and defend.   

“Never before has a president asked for funding, Congress has not provided it, and the president then has used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway. The problem with this is that after a Revolutionary War against a king, our nation’s founders gave to Congress the power to approve all spending so that the president would not have too much power. This check on the executive is a crucial source of our freedom. 

“This declaration is a dangerous precedent. Already, Democrat presidential candidates are saying they would declare emergencies to tear down the existing border wall, take away guns, stop oil exports, shut down offshore drilling and other leftwing enterprises—all without the approval of Congress.”

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Alexander cosponsored Senator Toomey’s amendment to make clear there is a crisis at the southern border and lists all of the funding Congress has already approved that President Trump can use to build the 234 miles of border wall he asked for in his January 6th letter to Congress. The amendment reflects the views the senator said on the Senate floor two weeks ago and again today.