Mississippi’s U.S. Senators were split in their vote on a resolution, H.J. Res 46, to overturn President Trump’s National Emergency Declaration regarding the security and humanitarian crisis on the border.. Hyde-Smith voted against the effort, while Wicker voted for it.
Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, voted against a Resolution of Disapproval (H.J.Res.46) to repudiate the emergency declaration issued by the President. The resolution, which has now been passed by the House and Senate, is expected to be vetoed by President Trump.
Hyde-Smith released the following statement:
“The President is justified in exercising his statutory authorities under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which gives him the latitude to declare a national emergency specifically to implement an existing border security law that was enacted with broad bipartisan support,” Hyde-Smith said.
“An emergency declaration may not be an ideal course of action, but an objective look at surging unlawful border crossings and illegal drug trafficking indicates we are facing a crisis that will get worse before it gets better,” she said. “This is a serious issue. The citizens of this country would be better served if Congress worked together to address this humanitarian and border security crisis, rather than using the issue to score political points.”
While Wicker may have voted for the resolution, this week he cosponsored legislation to provide for affirmative Congressional consent for future emergency declarations. He also supported negotiations that would have advanced the President’s border plans while preventing future overreach. Senators and the White House negotiated until late last night, but an agreement could not be reached.
Wicker released the following statement:
“I had very cordial conversations with the President yesterday and this morning. I shared with him that I strongly support his plan to build walls on our southern border, but that an emergency declaration was the wrong approach. The President already has almost $6 billion available that can be used to build border walls. For over 20 years in the House and Senate, I have voted for funds to build more than 600 miles of border structure, and I look forward to working with President Trump on additional border security measures.”
“I am concerned about the precedent an emergency declaration sets, which might empower a future liberal President to declare emergencies to enact gun control or to address ‘climate emergencies,’ or even to tear down the wall we are building today.”
“I regret that we were not able to find a solution that would have averted a challenge to the balance of power as defined by the Constitution. The system of checks and balances established by the Founders has preserved our democracy. It is essential that we protect this balance even when it is frustrating or inconvenient.”
U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials indicate that attempted border crossings in February marked an 11-year high for that month. Apprehensions of caravan groups attempting to cross the border illegally has increased more than 600 percent over the past five years.
Since the enactment of the National Emergencies Act more than 40 years ago, Presidents have declared nearly 60 national emergencies for everything from the swine flu to the response to 9/11.
Within this law, President Trump’s Feb. 15 declaration is based on statutory authority provided by Congress and not inherent constitutional emergency power. This action triggers other laws related to securing the border, including existing authorizing and appropriations measures that direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to “construct reinforced fencing along not less than 700 miles of the southwest border where fencing would be most practical and effective and provide for the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors to gain operational control of the southwest border.”
Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith Press Releases