Collins introduces resolution to stop border wall funding via national emergency declaration

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on Sept. 10 introduced a bipartisan resolution that seeks to terminate a previous national emergency declaration made by President Donald Trump and to uphold the separation of powers.

Sen. Collins cosponsored Senate Joint Resolution (S.J.Res.) 54 with U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to force a vote to terminate the president’s Feb. 15 national emergency declaration, which he made in the name of national security to access billions in federal funds to build the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, a request that Congress previously voted down.

“Let me be clear: The question before us is not whether to support or oppose the wall, or to support or oppose the president. Rather, it is: Do we want the Executive Branch — now or in the future — to hold a power that the founders deliberately entrusted to Congress?” Sen. Collins said on Sept. 11.

Sen. Collins and her colleagues contend that Congress alone holds the “power of the purse” to appropriate taxpayer funds, and they want to stop the U.S. Department of Defense from diverting $3.6 billion in funding from 127 congressionally appropriated military projects to fund the border wall.

“Each of these deferred military construction projects was recommended by the president in his budget request, and funding for them was passed by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by the president, just as our system was intended to work,” said Sen. Collins, who added that S.J.Res. 54 “blocks this overreach, and nothing more.”

In March, the U.S. Senate voted 59-41 to terminate the president’s emergency declaration, a resolution that also received approval from the U.S. House of Representatives, but was vetoed by Trump.

Under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, Congress may vote every six months to terminate the declaration.

“I strongly support protecting the institutional prerogatives of the Senate, and the system of checks and balances that is central to the structure of our government,” Sen. Collins said.