Politics

Ryan, Johnson Differ on Trump’s National Emergency

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a vote of 245 to 182 Tuesday evening, the House of Representatives voted to block President Donald Trump’s invoking the National Emergencies Act for the border wall.

All voting Democrats were joined by 13 Republicans to support the Democrat-sponsored privileged resolution, moving the resolution to the Republican-controlled Senate for a vote.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, co-sponsored the privileged resolution Feb. 22, citing Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress “power of the purse.” President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to pay for the wall “subverts that power of Congress and undermines our constitution,” Ryan said in a statement.

“Congress is not going to stand idly by while President Trump abuses his power for an ineffective, expensive wall,” Ryan said. “We’ve seen sitting Congressional Republicans, U.S. national security officials and a majority of the American people rebuke the president’s call for this fake national emergency.”

Ryan, a member of the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, said revoking the national emergency declaration protects $77.2 million that is set to go to Ohio military construction projects, including $7.4 million for an automated multipurpose machine gun range at the Camp James A. Garfield Joint Military Training Center – the former Camp Ravenna – and $8.8 million for main gate upgrades at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

Those funds, along with $61 million earmarked for an ADAL Intelligence Production Complex (NASIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, a $182 million expansion project, met the Trump Administration’s criteria for being reallocated to fund construction of the border wall, Ryan said.

“In order to build his wall, President Trump is threatening to take $16.2 million that is set to go towards critical military projects in our community,” Ryan said. “This is money that should be going to better prepare our men and women who defend our country every day at our bases in Youngstown and Ravenna. I am not going to stand by and let him threaten the safety and well-being of our community for this political charade.”

U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, and Mike Kelly, R-16 Pa., both voted against the resolution, with Johnson referring to the resolution as “pure and simply politics.

“Democrats in Washington are determined to do whatever they can to stop President Trump from securing a victory for the American people, including building a border wall to protect the safety and security of our citizens – regardless of what the American people think,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’ve stated repeatedly: there is a national emergency on the southern border. Whether its human trafficking, illegal drugs, criminals, dangerous gangs, or just plain-old illegal immigration, saying these aren’t critical issues that we must address immediately doesn’t make it true.”

In a statement, Kelly said the national emergency was intended to “fix a problem that has existed for decades and has consistently dodged a legislative solution.” He argued that Trump and Republicans worked for months on a legislative solution despite a refusal from Democrats to negotiate.

“Now, through this resolution of disapproval, Democrats are attempting to state that no such emergency exists,” he said. “They also cast the president as lawless, stating that his legal authority to declare the emergency does not exist. They are wrong on both counts, and if they want to end this emergency, they should come back to the table, drop the ‘resistance,’ and adequately fund border security.”

Johnson cited a president’s authority to declare a national emergency, which was originally enacted by Congress in 1976. There are currently 31 active national emergencies declared by presidents from both parties, most of which deal with overseas matters, he said.

“If members of Congress are so worked up about emergency declarations, there is an option: change the law and strip the office of the president of this power,” Johnson said. “But, despite their newfound interest in the separation of powers, that’s not what the Democrats in Washington are worried about. Their only true interests are stopping President Trump at every turn – but, it won’t work.”

President Trump has already threatened to veto the measure should it pass the Senate, which it looks to have a chance. Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina have all stated they would vote to block the national emergency. Should one more Republican defect and all Democrats and Independents vote in support of the measure, it will progress to the White House.

Tuesday afternoon, Sabrina Eaton, Washington D.C. reporter for The Plain Dealer, tweeted that U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said “he hasn’t yet decided how he’ll vote on the upcoming resolution to disapprove of President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border,” and that he “needs more info.”

Should the proposal pass the Senate and the president makes good on his threat to veto the bill, the House would need a two-thirds majority to override the veto. Assuming all Democrats vote “yea,” they would need another 53 Republicans on board to meet the margin.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.