Sen. Bill Cassidy unsure about congressional effort to block national emergency

Sen. Bill Cassidy on the fence about resolution to block national emergency declaration

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration over funding for border security is expected to be tested in Congress this week, and while Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said he supports a border wall, he is not certain how he will vote on a congressional measure to block the declaration.

Democrats who control the U.S. House of Representatives could vote as early as Tuesday (Feb. 26) on the resolution.

“I haven’t seen the final declaration that comes over from the House,” Cassidy said during a video conference call with news reporters in Louisiana -- his home state. “And I’ll reserve judgment until I see that. I understand completely the need to secure the southern border.”

Cassidy, like some other Republicans on Capitol Hill fear the national emergency related to funding for a border wall could set a dangerous precedent and give future presidents too much power.

“I’m also concerned about the precedent,” Cassidy said. “What if a future President Elizabeth Warren decided to use executive powers to do something which conservatives would not like, confiscate AR-15s because she feels like that somehow would have a benefit for the nation? So, there is that balance there and that’s what I’m looking at.”

Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) say the national emergency declaration over border security is unnecessary.

“There is no emergency at the southern border. It’s a mythology of the president, not a reality at the border, and so people have to realize that,” Pelosi said.

Recently, Congress voted to provide $1.4 billion dollars for border barriers, but President Trump had demanded close to $6 billion.

“There is no justification to make an end-run around the Congress of the United States that has made a judgment as to what we need to invest to make our borders secure,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland said.

Cassidy said he remains confident that the national emergency declaration will not endanger federal dollars for Louisiana’s flood mitigation projects.

“The president has made it clear that he will not be taking money away from flood mitigation projects, and so that money which is coming to Louisiana is being held harmless. He’s taking it from military construction with the understanding that this is in a sense a national security operation,” Cassidy said.

Copyright 2019 WVUE. All rights reserved.