The new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said that while President Trump could theoretically declare a national emergency to get a U.S.-Mexico border wall built, such a move would be a terrible use of federal money and be ripe for legal challenges.
“There is a provision in law that says the president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times, but primarily it’s been done to build facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Rep. Adam Smith, Washington Democrat, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“In this case, I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge saying where is the emergency? You have to establish that in order to do this,” Mr. Smith said.
President Trump reaffirmed to reporters Sunday that he was pondering a national emergency declaration depending on how talks to re-open parts of the government go over the next few days.
Mr. Smith said that at any rate, such a move would be a “terrible use” of Defense Department money.
“We should have a conversation about border security, but first we should re-open the government and start paying our border patrol agents and the other 800,000 federal employees who are furloughed,” he said.