Donald Trump on Friday that he would declare a state of emergency in order to get money from parts of the government. Trump needs 5.7 billion dollars for a border wall but the government has only allocated him approximately 1.4 million dollars to build 55 miles of fencing. Trump can declare an emergency by evoking the National Emergencies Act of 1976 and bypassing a legislative hurdle that caused a the greatest government shutdown in American history. The emergency powers granted to Trump by the act would give him the ability to divert taxpayer dollars during time of national emergency. (The emergency is of course the undocumented flow of immigrants into the United States.)
Parts of the government that Trump plans on taking money from is the Defense Department (3.6 billion) and 600 million from the Treasury Department.
“We assess that with 8 billion we will have sufficient money to finance the president's wall construction plans’’ Mulvany recently said.
For more than 40 years the National Emergencies Act has been used with other emergency declaration legislation to get funds during natural disasters and in order to quicken government response to public health crisis, but Donald Trump's invocation of the act is in defiance of Congress's refusal to appropriate funds for the border wall.
“Because there is no criteria for what counts as an emergency then theoretically a president to use it for anything he thought or she thought it was an emergency” said Professor Kim Lane Scheppele , the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and international Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.
Members of Congress have said that they will indeed challenge the Declaration but it is not clear if lawmakers will have the legal standing to challenge the President's authority.
“If Trump declares an emergency and they start building a wall the only way that a person gets standing as if they are personally injured” said Scheppele to The Daily Beast