The US Capitol at dawn. (Photo: Architect of the US Capitol)
Feb. 27, 2019 by David Silverberg
Updated 11:40 am with Rooney statement and link to bill
Last night, Feb. 26, The US House of Representatives voted 245 to 182 to terminate President Donald Trump’s state of emergency on the southern border.
In a startling break with his Republican colleagues and the president, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.) voted with the Democratic majority to pass the bill. Until now Rooney has voted 100 percent with the president’s agenda in the 116th Congress. He joined 12 other Republicans in rejecting the state of emergency declaration, made on Feb. 15.
In a statement, Rooney declared: “I voted for the resolution because I believe in the rule of law and strict adherence to our Constitution. We are, as John Adams said, ‘A nation of laws, not men.’ The ends cannot justify the means; that is exactly what the socialists want.
“We need to secure our border and control who enters the United States but this emergency declaration is not the answer – fixing our broken immigration system is: adopting skill-based immigration, not family-based; policing visa overstays; ending the diversity lottery; making E-verify required of all employers; and stopping asylum abuse by requiring that asylum claims can only be made at a legal point of entry to the United States.”
The bill, House Joint Resolution 46, introduced on Feb. 22 by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-20-Texas), now goes to the Senate.
Should the bill be passed in the Senate, President Trump is widely expected to veto it.
Trump’s emergency declaration came after Congress passed a federal spending bill that did not include Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall. At the press conference announcing his state of emergency declaration, Trump stated that he did not have to declare a state of emergency but that it would facilitate his getting the money more quickly. In addition to the congressional vote, the declaration is being challenged in court.
In addition to Democratic arguments that there was no national emergency at the border, that the declaration was an unconstitutional end-run to get money Congress had not appropriated and that success on this issue would lead Trump to declare further emergencies every time he wanted something, conservatives were also critical of the declaration. For example, the conservative, Koch-brothers funded Cato Institute, an ideological think tank, also argued against it in an essay, “There Is No National Emergency on the Border, Mr. President.”
Ironically, the vote against the declaration of emergency came on the eve of the 86th anniversary of the Reichstag fire in Germany. On Feb. 27, 1933 a fire broke out in the Reichstag building housing Germany’s parliament. A Dutch communist was held responsible and Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party used the incident to declare an emergency in Germany and pass laws that consolidated an unchecked Nazi dictatorship.
Liberty lives in light