VIDEO: Udall Urges Colleagues to Defend the Constitution and Stand Up to Presidential Power Grab

by Reporter / Mar 14, 2019 / 0 comments

VIDEO: Udall Urges Colleagues to Defend the Constitution and Stand Up to Presidential Power Grab

Udall is the lead sponsor of the bipartisan Senate resolution to terminate the president’s declaration

WASHINGTON -- Today, ahead of a historic vote on the bipartisan joint resolution to block the president’s national emergency declaration, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke on the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to support the resolution, uphold the separation of powers, and stand up to the president’s unconstitutional power grab.

Udall, along with U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine),  Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), introduced the bipartisan resolution in the Senate to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration. The resolution, which serves as a companion bill to H.J.Res.46, passed the House of Representatives last month with a bipartisan vote of 245-182.

In his speech, Udall called for bipartisan action to terminate the president’s emergency declaration, urging his colleagues in the Senate to check executive overreach, honor their oath of office, and stand up for Congress’s constitutional authority. “The president is testing the limits of executive power. The question before the Senate today is — are we going to let this happen? Are we going to open this Pandora’s box?... Are we really going to let a president raid taxpayer money after Congress denies the request? The opposition to this power grab is bipartisan.  As it should be… My fellow senators – it is time for the Senate to do its job.  It is time for us to assert our authority over the purse.  It is time to honor our oath of office,” Udall said.

Udall emphasized that the president’s attempts to divert funding already appropriated for military construction and other projects toward a border wall -- despite the fact that Congress alone holds the “power of the purse,” to appropriate taxpayer funds – would amount to an end run around the Constitution. “This vote is historic.  The Constitution’s principle of separation of powers is at stake.  If the Senate enables the president to hijack our power to appropriate – history will not remember us fondly. This vote is not about the wisdom of building a wall along the border.  This vote is not about party. This vote is about whether we will let any president trample on the Constitution,” Udall continued.

He pointed out that the emergency declaration would jeopardize key military construction projects in several states, including New Mexico, by allowing the Trump administration to raid billions of dollars from the Department of Defense’s military construction budget in an attempt to “bypass the appropriations process” – an unprecedented use of the National Emergencies Act. “The president wants to take real money away from real military construction projects that will have a real impact on national security… [T]hese critical projects – in all of our states – are at risk,” Udall noted.

As a border state senator, Udall also highlighted that the president’s emergency declaration isn’t based in reality, and doesn’t match the facts on the ground. “I am here to tell you:  there is no national security emergency along my state’s border with Mexico. What is happening at our border does not justify the use of this authority. New Mexico’s border communities are flourishing with economic, cultural, and educational activity.  Border communities are as safe—or safer—than many others in the interior,” Udall said.

Udall concluded, “But again – whether you support or oppose the border wall is not at issue. What is at issue is our oath to ‘support and defend’ the Constitution. Whether any president can toss Congress aside, and raid critical funds at will. We have an opportunity to stand up to an unconstitutional power grab. I urge everyone in this chamber to seize that opportunity.”

The full text of Udall’s remarks is available HERE.


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