Our President’s true colors — the bully with too much power — are on full display as he uses hundreds of thousands of federal workers as hostages in his quest to extort our tax dollars to wall-off Mexico. Trump justifies furloughing thousands of federal workers and forcing thousands of others to work without pay by alleging, without evidence or justification, that there is an “emergency” at the border that only a wall will fix. Interestingly, there was no “emergency” at the border until the right wing “freedom caucus” objected to a bipartisan appropriations bill that maintained current spending levels for wall construction.
Anyone who cares about our Constitution should be alarmed by Trump’s claim that he can declare an “emergency” and thereby “legitimately” usurp Congress’ power to determine whether or not tax dollars should be expended to build a section of wall. Does Trump get to unilaterally determine all appropriations decisions during his manufactured “emergency”? How far would this power grab go and how long would it last? In drafting the Constitution, the framers sought to ensure that no president could become a dictator. Both the House and the Senate need to demonstrate backbone and tell Trump that he lacks the authority to bypass Congress’ spending authority. Our system is built on compromise between the legislative and executive branches and Trump must reach agreement with both houses to fund our government and manage our borders.