- The Trump Administration enacted a partial government shutdown since December 22, 2018, the longest in American history.
- Trump is considering to declare a national emergency which would force Congress’ hand in allowing $5 billion to fund a border wall.
- The House of Representatives are majority Democratic. The Senate remains Republican.
- Trump is looking to negotiate a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. There’s been no progress.
- People are not happy. Flights and airports are severely delayed, national parks are facing years of damage, the food supply may be at risk with 41% of the F.D.A off the job, and government employees are fed up, working without pay.
How can Trump declare a national emergency? The National Emergencies Act of 1976 lets presidents issue an emergency declaration under certain statutes and powers. Once a president declares a national emergency, he or she must notify Congress, list the powers to be invoked, and provide status updates. If the House and Senate agree, Congress has the power to terminate an emergency.
The Brennan Center for Justice identifies 136 statutory powers that Trump can possibly use. For example, one law allows the defense secretary to divert spending and resources of the army’s civil works program to military construction projects (i.e. a wall). Trump could choose to declare a “state of immigration emergency” and access a $20 million immigration emergency fund, intended for states that house migrants and process claims.
Prior presidents have declared national emergencies, such as George W. Bush following 9/11 and Barack Obama during the 2009 swine flu outbreak. Legal scholars, professors, and citizens are questioning the legality of Trump’s authority to do so. A divided Congress is raising concerns regarding their ability to terminate an emergency.
Updates? 12 senators from both parties gathered earlier today in the first bipartisan meeting. Although talks were inconclusive, this meeting signifies that everyone is eager to end the shutdown.
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