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Colorado leaders speak out on emergency declaration for border wall

Posted at 5:31 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 10:18:20-05

WASHINGTON – Colorado’s representatives in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are sharing their opinions of President Trump’s emergency declaration.

Trump announced the declaration Friday in order to secure funding for a wall on the southern border. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the plan calls for using the $1.4 billion approved by Congress, plus $600 million in Treasury forfeiture funds. It also plans to draw on $2.5 billion in Defense Department counterdrug money, and an estimated $2.6 billion in funds set aside for military construction projects.

According to a statement from Senator Michael Bennet, he is concerned by the President’s attempt to bypass Congress for funding.

“Whatever your politics, every American should worry about President Trump’s attempt to bypass the U.S. Congress by inventing a national emergency. This is not how the world’s oldest democracy should conduct itself. The President should not declare a national emergency to fulfill a campaign promise that neither the Congress nor the American people support. This is a dangerous precedent that should concern everyone who cares about the health of our democracy and our institutions.” – Sen. Michael Bennet

Senator Cory Gardner says he has not had enough time to review the declaration to make a firm decision.

“I continue to believe that shutdowns are never the right answer and Congress is most appropriately situated  to fund border security. I’ve long supported immigration reform that includes more dollars for border security and there has always been broad bipartisan support for such efforts. I’m currently reviewing the authorities the Administration is using to declare a national emergency.” – Sen. Cory Gardner

Gardner also spoke to News5 about the declaration. He said, “Congress needs to do its job, fund border security. I think that’s important. That’s where this discussion ought to be, but in terms of the national emergency, the legal authority, I’ve got to research and understand exactly what legal authority is.”

And Congressman Doug Lamborn said in a statement that while sending troops to help secure the Mexican border is not new, he is not in favor of the plan to use military funding to pay for the wall.

“Each of the past five presidents has sent troops and military resources to our southern border, so what President Trump is doing is nothing new. This reflects the decades-long failure of both parties to provide adequate resources to secure our border with Mexico.  President Trump was elected in no small part because he spoke to the frustrations of the majority of Americans who support better border security and control of our national sovereignty.  I appreciate the President’s dogged efforts to affect these policies, and denounce in the strongest terms the intransigence of the Democratic leadership in Congress who now oppose measures they supported for years just to score political points against President Trump.

“That said, I strongly encourage the president not to go through with diverting funds from military construction accounts to border security.  Our defense infrastructure was one of the areas hit hardest by the Obama-era defense cuts, and pulling from those accounts will have serious consequences for our military readiness. One of the most significant achievements of the past two years has been rebuilding our military strength and getting the Department of Defense back on track to prepare for modern threats. As such, I hope the president will pursue other options.”

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said he is considering filing a lawsuit against the Trump Administration saying the president can’t divert money from their primary purpose, undermining emergency preparedness.

The ACLU posted a tweet that they’re suing as well saying there is no emergency and that this is an unconstitutional power grab that hurts American communities.

For Governor Jared Polis, he says the plan is an astonishing abuse of power.

“While the president tries to separate us— Coloradans, and my administration, will continue to unite by building a Colorado for all.”

Related: Colorado governor denounces Trump’s emergency declaration