President Donald Trump is considering declaring a national emergency at the U.S. southern border and it would not be unprecedented in general.
Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, himself declared 12 states of national emergency ranging from a “National Emergency with Respect to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic” to “blocking property” from “certain persons” in connection with countries in conflict with the U.S. (Related: Here’s What Would Happen If Trump Declared A National Emergency To Build The Wall)
The U.S. is currently under 32 active states of national emergencies, per the Brennan Center for Justice. Many of the emergencies were declared by presidents as far back as Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Trump will deliver a primetime address to the nation Tuesday as the nation enters its 18th day with a partial government shutdown. Trump is engaged in a high stakes battle with Democratic lawmakers over funding for his proposed wall along the U.S. southern border.
The White House is demanding 5.7 billion dollars for a proposed steel barrier along the border, with Democratic lawmakers saying they will provide no more than 1.6 billion. The White House is committed to keeping the government partially shutdown until an agreement can be reached over funding for the border wall.
Trump told reporters in recent days that he is open to declaring a national emergency to circumvent the funding process in Congress, and could simply use his powers as commander in chief to appropriate military funding for the border wall. Despite this consideration, however, Trump said he would much prefer to go through the congressional negotiations process.
Congressman Adam Smith, the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, just stated, “Yes, there is a provision in law that says a president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times.” No doubt, but let’s get our deal done in Congress!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2019
Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News Monday evening that a national emergency is “something that he’s looking at and considering.”
VP Pence to @HallieJackson this morn re: POTUS/declaring a national emergency so he can start building a border wall without congressional approval: “It’s something that he’s looking at and considering”
— Robert Costa (@costareports) January 8, 2019