Here’s how Pa’s Congressional delegation reacted to President Trump’s emergency declaration

By: - February 15, 2019 3:02 pm

On Friday, hours after Congress sent him an emergency funding package aimed at averting another government shutdown, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, enabling him to do a Congressional end-around so he could build additional barriers at America’s southern border with Mexico.

Trump signed the funding package into law on Friday afternoon.

Here’s how Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation reacted to the news. It will be updated as we receive additional comment.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa:

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.: 

“I made no secret of the fact that I hoped the president would choose to avoid unilateral action and work with Congress on a legislative solution to secure the border. My staff and I are reviewing the president’s declaration and its implications very closely.”

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District: 

“It sets a bad precedent for the Executive Branch to make such declarations. Legislating must remain in the legislative branch.”

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-2nd District:

U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District: 

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District:

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5th District:

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th District:

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District:

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8th District:

U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-9th District:

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District: 

“President Trump has every right to invoke a national emergency to secure our borders – a right afforded him by the National Emergency Act of 1976, which several presidents, of both parties, have invoked as well. He’s left no other choice, since both chambers and parties of Congress, once again, failed to act to secure our borders.”

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District: 

“Emergency declarations should not be taken lightly. President Trump has made a strong case that there’s a humanitarian crisis at our southern border – and I agree. It’s Congress’ duty to ensure the President is acting within his constitutional authority to address that crisis. After research and consideration, I believe Trump is acting within his authority to take this action,” Smucker said in a statement.

“Emergency declarations do not allow the President to circumvent the Constitution. President Trump’s exercise of national emergency powers is limited in this instance. He is not creating a new law or allocating additional funding. He is merely re-appropriating money that has already been set aside for other projects. It will be important that Congress continues to monitor and review the president’s role in this process to ensure the actions taken are within constitutional and statutory authority,” he said.

U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District:

“President Trump has signaled that if he signs this measure he will then have to take unilateral action to provide the additional wall funding that is necessary for our national security. He should not be forced to do that. Congress has a responsibility to provide adequate funding to protect the American people rather than have the President bail us out.

“Going forward, Congress must redouble its efforts starting today to formulate serious legislative solutions that will stop the influx of opioids into our country,properly fund the wall, secure our border, and most importantly, keep Americans safe. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee I look forward to working with my colleagues on this vital matter. This is my responsibility as charged by the citizens of Pennsylvania’s 13th District.”

U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District:

U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District:

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District: 

“I share the President Trump’s primary priority and responsibility – that is, the safety and security of the American people. He persistently sought to work with Congress on a satisfactory deal to secure our nation’s borders, and Democrats consistently refused to negotiate in good faith,” Kelly said in a statement.

“They focused on politics over sound policy, cynically trying to prevent the President from keeping his promise to the American people. This emergency declaration is a last resort to address the humanitarian and national security crisis we have at our southern border, and I support what he is trying to do. It is my hope that as we move forward with this debate that further border security enhancements will be implemented through the legislative process. But, it will be up to Nancy Pelosi as to whether or not her caucus will continue to “resist” or start helping us protect American families,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-17th District: Could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-18th District: 

“The President is bound and determined to build his wall, but declaring an imaginary emergency based on misleading information so that he can take money from the military budget to pay for it is a terrible move on many levels,” Doyle said in a statement.   “It discredits the Presidency and undermines our Constitutional institutions by circumventing Congressional control over federal spending.

“To the extent that the government is going to spend more money on border security, that money could be better spent on new technology and more personnel. Finally, taking money from military projects to pay for a wall means that other national security needs will go unmet,” he said.

Capital-Star Washington reporter Robin Bravender contributed to this story.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.