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Democratic leaders in Congress call Trump’s national emergency unlawful

US President Donald Trump tells a press conference in Washington on Feb. 15, 2019, of his decision to declare a national emergency in order to obtain a total of $8 billion to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico. EFE-EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

US President Donald Trump tells a press conference in Washington on Feb. 15, 2019, of his decision to declare a national emergency in order to obtain a total of $8 billion to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico. EFE-EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

EFE

Democratic Party leaders in the US Congress this Friday called unlawful President Donald Trump ‘s decision to declare a national emergency in order to obtain more funds to build a border wall between the US and Mexico.

“The President’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation,” House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.

The two legislators said that stealing “urgently needed” funds from the Defense Department weakens the Armed Forces and consequently the country.

“This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process,” the note said.

The two Democrats announced they will take measures to defend the separation of powers “in the Congress, in the Courts and in the public,” while urging their “Republican colleagues” to join them in defending the Constitution.

The statement came after the White House announced that the president would declare a national emergency so he could obtain an additional $6.6 billion for the construction of his wall with Mexico after Congress agreed this Thursday to set aside $1.375 billion for the project.

The budget item approved by both houses of Congress was far from the $5.7 billion originally requested by the president, with which he sought to build 376 additional kilometers (over 200 additional miles) of steel fences on the nation’s southern border.

The declaration of a national emergency allows the government to divert Defense Department and US Treasury funds without congressional approval.

In all, the administration plans to transfer $6 billion from the Pentagon ($3.5 billion from its budget for the war on drugs and $2.5 billion from construction of military installations), while the remaining $600 million will come from the Treasury’s Forfeiture Fund for drug confiscation.

In proceeding with the White House proposal, the government can now count on some $8 billion for extending the border wall between the United States and Mexico.


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