Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
By Rachel Dalloo
President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency on March 15 rejecting legislation drafted to thwart his declaration of a national emergency after Congress rejected his funding request for border wall construction between the U.S. and Mexico.
The legislation, which in a rare feat garnered the support of 12 Senate Republicans, was widely seen as procedural gesture since there is not enough support in Congress to override the veto.
Michael Sharpe, an associate professor at York College, weighed in on the impact of the declaration and the broad power of the presidency.
“The impact is that it could set a new precedent embolding the president’s emergency powers when he/she does not get what they want,” Sharpe wrote in an email. “It calls into question the system of separation of powers and checks and balances.”
Immediately after the Democrats passed the resolution Trump tweeted that he “looks forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution.”
The White House has said that the president declared a national emergency so that he could be able to “build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”
“It seems he wants to use this as a way to build his wall,” said Nicholas Comberford, 21, a Sociology major. “I worry for the immigrants that will be affected by the president’s decision. I am happy that there was a bipartisan effort to block POTUS’ action. It restored my faith in the American Democracy.”
Trump declared the national emergency at the border last month as part of a plan to divert money to build more barriers along the U.S. border with Mexico, after Congress only approved $1.38 billion.
“Out of all the problems that are of national importance, Trump chose the only problem that would divide people,” said Parsram Stanley, a York College Journalism Major. “I think that declaring this false issue as a national emergency will only divide people and will not solve any real problem that he is initially trying to solve.”
While 12 of the 53 Republican senators opposed Trump’s emergency declaration, only 13 of the 197 Republicans in the House supported the resolution when it passed last month.
“It seems that not enough Republicans are bold enough to disagree with the president.” Sharpe added.
“I think that both the House and Senate passing a resolution to block the funding for national emergency is wonderful,” Stanley said. “We have an amazing system of government that won’t allow for one leader to do things only their way.”
Congressional lawmakers are not the only opposition to emergency declaration. A coalition of 20 states including New York and New Jersey sued the Trump administration calling the president’s emergency “unconstitutional.”
“We will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling, and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake,” Trump said of the lawsuit at a press conference.
A declaration of a National State of Emergency can be best defined as a situation that places a threat on the lives and health of citizens within a country.