Pelosi pushing to override national emergency declaration

House Democrats will hold leadership elections and select a nominee for House speaker during a closed-door meeting Wednesday -- the first major test for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in her bid to reclaim the gavel when Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in the new year.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi urged members of Congress on Wednesday to back a resolution halting the national emergency declared by President Donald Trump to fund a border wall.

Pelosi’s call to action comes as the White House plows ahead on transferring federal funds not contingent on Trump’s declaration toward building a wall along the southern border, despite already facing several lawsuits.

“I write to invite all Members of Congress to cosponsor Congressman Joaquin Castro’s privileged resolution … to terminate this emergency declaration using the termination mechanism within the National Emergencies Act,” the California Democrat wrote in a letter to her colleagues.

“All Members take an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution,” Pelosi added. “The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated. We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the President’s assault.”

Representatives have until 3 p.m. Thursday to sign the resolution, which will be introduced Friday, Pelosi wrote. The House will “move swiftly” under the National Emergencies Act to pass it before sending it to the Senate, she added.

Trump declared a national emergency last Friday after he signed a spending bill that would keep the government open and provide $1.375 billion for a border wall, billions less than he had sought.

Castro had promised to curtail such a declaration prior to Trump’s announcement as a possible second partial government shutdown loomed.

“Historically, Presidents have declared national emergencies for urgent matters of national security. President Trump would unconstitutionally usurp congressional authority by declaring an emergency based upon unfounded hype rather than any substantive emergency,” the Texas Democrat said last Thursday in a statement.

Castro added that “such a baseless declaration by President Trump would set a dangerous precedent regarding the constitutional balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches.”

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden on Friday, Trump referenced an “invasion” of undocumented immigrants and “tremendous amounts of drugs” at the southern border but offered few concrete examples that such a crisis exists.

He also predicted the long legal road facing his mandate.

“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit, even though it shouldn’t be there, and 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 and we’ll win in the Supreme Court,” Trump said.

Pelosi had hinted Friday that she might support a challenge to Trump’s declaration.

When asked Friday whether she would file a legal challenge, the speaker replied, “I may — that’s an option, and we’ll review our options.”

“The President is doing an end run about Congress, about the power of the purse,” she said, adding, “We will review our options. We’ll be prepared to respond appropriately to it.”

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