News Releases from Offices of Senator’s Ben Cardin(D-Md.), and Chris Van Hollen(D-Md.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer(D-Md)
Senator Ben Cardin:
“The very nature of how President Trump decided finally to declare a so-called emergency at our southern border shows how he, too, knows that there is no real national emergency at our southern border.”
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.)called today’s vote by the Senate on an appropriations compromise package positive for Maryland, our country and federal workers. The legislation, which passed the Senate 83-16, next will be voted on by the House of Representatives. Senator Cardin also responded to Senator Mitch McConnell’s announcement that President Trump would sign the bill and simultaneously issue an emergency declaration for the southern border.
“There is no such thing as a ‘good’ government shutdown. I was glad to see President Trump and congressional Republicans finally learn that lesson. This is not a perfect funding bill, but it injects stability into our regional and national economies by funding the federal government and key programs through the end of the current fiscal year. The bill provides a reasonable cost-of-living adjustment to our hardworking federal employees in Maryland and across the country, funds important transportation grants, and holds the line on funding for important environmental and public health programs, such as those of the EPA that had been in the budget-cutting cross hairs of President Trump. Once again, Congress ensured that science and policy were higher priorities than campaign rhetoric. Among many other priorities, Congress also is providing additional funds for lead contamination testing in schools and lead reduction projects in rural areas and elsewhere.
“The very nature of how President Trump decided finally to declare a so-called emergency at our southern border shows how he, too, knows that there is no real national emergency at our southern border. In fact, border apprehensions have dramatically dropped from roughly 1.6 million in fiscal year 2000 to approximately 400,000 in fiscal year 2018. We know that a medieval border wall would be a tremendously wasteful expenditure of resources, as opposed to smarter border security technology that would enhance screening at our ports of entry and specifically target trans-national criminal operations smuggling contraband into the United States. The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power of appropriations. Congress and the courts should take all necessary action to overturn any unlawful presidential declarations on border security under the National Emergencies Act or other authorities. Instead of trying to raid funds that have been designated for critical military construction and environmental projects, the president should work with Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.”
Senator Chris Van Hollen:
“The Trump Shutdown – the longest in history – was a political temper tantrum that wreaked havoc on our country. Today, with this compromise, we prevent that from happening again. But this bipartisan compromise represents more than that – it is a serious investment in critical parts of our country.
“It provides funding to keep our nation secure, improve our infrastructure, safeguard our environment, and bolster our justice programs. It includes major wins for Maryland – from protecting the Chesapeake Bay, to continuing vital programs at NASA Goddard, to maintaining the $150 million federal commitment to WMATA – and keeping alive the possibility that the FBI headquarters will come to Maryland. Finally, it says to our federal employees – including the over 800,000 who were forced to work without pay or furloughed completely for more than a month – that we respect their work. This legislation rejects the Trump pay freeze and instead gives civil servants a modest cost of living increase in their paycheck. And while I’m disappointed that it doesn’t include back pay for our federal contract workers, I’m going to keep fighting to make them whole.
“American families want bipartisan solutions to the issues our nation faces – and while it’s not perfect, this spending agreement represents major progress. Congress should pass it without delay, and the President should sign it into law and put this shameful episode behind us.”
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement regarding reports of President Trump’s plan to put forward a National Emergency Declaration to fund his border wall:
“It is a gross abuse of power – and likely illegal – for President Trump to go around Congress to fund his border wall. Inventing an unnecessary emergency declaration to pay for his wall by redirecting funds already allocated to our military or domestic infrastructure sets a dangerous precedent. I am confident this lawless act will be struck down by the courts.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer:
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after reports indicate President Trump will declare a national emergency to build a wall at the southern border:
“Declaring a national emergency would be a violation of the spirit of the laws Congress enacted to deal with actual emergencies by allowing an extraordinary circumvention of our Constitution’s framework of checks and balances. I was at our southern border last week and can verify that no emergency exists there. This is a dangerous ploy by a President who cares not a whit about the precedent it will set and the broad, bipartisan opposition in Congress to such a declaration. Instead of making an end-run around Congress to build an expensive and ineffective wall, President Trump ought to work with the legislative branch to deal with our immigration, asylum, and border security challenges in a strategic way.
“The House will vote for the conference report tonight to keep government open, but House Democrats will challenge this irresponsible declaration.”