The Only “National Emergency” We Face is a Potentially Unchecked Executive

Shiam Kannan | United States

President Donald Trump has never been a steadfast proponent of Constitutional conservatism, but on Friday, February 15th, 2019, he issued a full-fledged assault on American constitutional principles, declaring a National Emergency at the southern border in order to gain access to billions of dollars for the construction of a border barrier. While a strong case can be made on the merits of a border wall, the issue at hand goes further: our nation is at a Constitutional crossroads, and at this moment, we must decide whether the President has the power to spend money without Congressional consent.

The Constitution clearly addresses this issue, and the answer, according to the document, is a firm “no.” Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution states that “[n]o Money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” In other words, if there is no appropriations bill passed by Congress delegating money for a specific purpose, then money cannot be spent on that purpose. This means that Trump does not have any authority under the Constitution to unilaterally fund his border wall, or anything else, for that matter, using taxpayer dollars, unless Congress passes a funding bill which explicitly authorizes it.

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