February 27, 2019

Castro Remarks on Critical Importance of Maintaining Balance of Powers, Terminating the President’s Emergency Declaration

– As Delivered – Click Here for Video

WASHINGTON—Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a member of the House Intelligence and Education and Labor Committee, today made the following remarks on the House Floor about the critical importance of maintaining the balance of powers and voting yes on the privileged resolution that would terminate President Trump’s fake emergency declaration (H.J.Res. 46):

“Thank you, Chairman. Thank you, Speaker.

“About six weeks ago, when the rumors began that the President might declare a national emergency to build his border wall, my staff and I began working with Legislative Counsel to make sure that Congress would have a say in what amounts to constitutional cannibalism by the President.

“This is the most consequential vote we will take in a generation on the balance of powers between the Legislative and the Executive branches of government. Whether we will respect the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution, stand up for Congress, and for this country, and for the Constitution, or whether we will stand down in favor of the President.

“The precedent that may be set today—this week or next week when the Senate votes—if  Congress allows this President’s emergency declaration to stand, will not have ramifications only on this matter, or the building of a border wall.

“But if the President is successful, he will likely come back for more. He will likely circumvent Congress again, in the same unconstitutional way.

“Not only will this President do it. Future Presidents will do it.

“And I ask you this: how are we to tell a future President, if this President is successful, that gun deaths which number in the tens of thousands are not national emergency? That opioid deaths are not a national emergency? That climate change is not a national emergency?

“This will allow a President to sideline Congress for much of domestic policy. And bear in mind, Congress over the years, has already on its own, I believe, given up a lot of its authority in respect to foreign policy.

“It’s also clear that there is no emergency at the border.

“Border crossings are at a four-decades low. The folks who are coming today are presenting themselves to Border Patrol agents seeking asylum—not trying to get around the border. There are more law enforcement officers at our border—federal, state, and local officers—than at any time in our nation’s history.

“Since its founding, this country has become the most powerful and prosperous on the face of the earth, without a border wall.

“That’s why most Americans disagree with the President usurping the power of Congress to build his border wall. In fact, not only do they disagree with that. They disagree with using military construction money on this border project. Cities like mine in San Antonio stand to lose millions of dollars in military construction.

“I urge my colleagues to vote for this resolution.”

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