The rift between conservatives and moderates in the Republican Party is normally a black-and-white issue. It’s easy to tell which perspective is more conservative and which gives into the left-leaning moderation practiced in the mushy middle.
That gap is being blurred by a single issue right now. President Trump’s national emergency declaration to redirect funds for building the border wall has conservatives siding with moderates on both sides of the debate. Some are choosing to side with the President to stand in solidarity in order to get the wall built. Senators Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse were notable in their decision to vote against the resolution stopping the national emergency.
The other side says overreach is overreach even if the end goal is desirable. That’s where Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul have teamed up with moderates like Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski in voting to block the President’s emergency. While they’re doing it for different reasons, it’s still noteworthy that they went against the President’s wishes.
So, who’s right? My post early essentially said both sides were right, but I believe this topic needs further clarification. We need the wall and we need to rein in presidential powers. That may very well be the case, but the bottom line from a conservative perspective is that this is not the type of “emergency” that presidents should be able to declare indefinitely. Things have not fundamentally changed in the last two years. The border situation is worse, but it’s no more an emergency now than it was when the President was sworn into office.
While it stays within the letter of the law, it’s a flawed law that doesn’t have the necessary checks and balances. The National Emergencies Act is an abomination to the Constitution and it’s unfortunate it hasn’t been challenged until this very important issue.
Most of the President’s supporters are saying the law is law now and if anyone wanted to challenge it, they should have done so sometime in the 43 years before President Trump tried to use it to secure the border. This is correct. It’s the reason why I’m not going to jump up and down blaming President Trump for using a tool in his toolbox that Congress gave him. It’s overreach. That much is certain. But it’s legal overreach.
The fact that it’s legal doesn’t make it right.
The NEA needs to be addressed immediately. Unfortunately, it’s almost certain that it won’t be because now that the President has allegedly opened Pandora’s Box, Democrats are craving the day their president will be able to use it for gun control, abortion, environmental protection, or any other pet projects they might not be able to ram through Capitol Hill. Is it hypocritical of them to try to block this president then defend the next Democratic one? Absolutely. But they don’t care.
Lest we forget, the real bottom line in all of this is that the President and the GOP should have been having the border wall battle with the Democrats long before the midterm elections. Even if he signed off on four or five spending bills to get through the Obamacare battle and tax reform, he should have been putting his foot down long before the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. Why did he wait on his signature campaign promise? I can only imagine Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Jared Kushner, and other squishes gave him very bad advice. Now, he’s forced to fight a battle that likely will not get a significant amount of wall done before the 2020 elections.
He will veto the attempted override of his national emergency by Congress. Then, the legal battles begin. At this point, it behooves conservatives to work towards permanently fixing the NEA.
We need the wall. We need to limit the powers of the NEA. The arguments from the conservative supporters on both sides of this issue are partially right. Now, we’ll see how big the rift between them becomes. It’s not a good day for the GOP.
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