FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Congress’s Cowardly “Emergency” Rebuke

By the time you read this column, the US House of Representatives will almost certainly have passed the following Joint Resolution:

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, pursuant to section 202 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622), the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 8444 (84 Fed. Reg. 4949) is here-by terminated.”

The fake “emergency” in question powers US president Donald Trump’s plan to divert money appropriated for other purposes to  his pet “border wall” project (he used to swear up and down he’d find a way to make Mexico pay for the wall, but those days are clearly over).

The resolution’s chances of passage by the US Senate are not quite as good, but the possibility exists.

After which, there are the absolute certainties that first, Trump will veto the resolution and second, neither house of Congress will be able to drum up the votes needed to override that veto.

Most news accounts mention that last part, but emphasize the notion that this Joint Resolution constitutes a damaging “rebuke” to the president.

In fact, it’s just a cowardly way for Congress to avoid doing what it should do by pretending that it did “something,” then go back to business as usual while Trump proceeds merrily on his wall-obsessed way.

Congressional Democrats started talking up impeachment before Trump was even inaugurated. They’ve spent  two full years on various investigations of their own and on promoting the prospect that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would get them the goods.

Now Democrats have a majority in the House and Trump has served them up, on a veritable silver platter, a clear-cut, air-tight, irrefutable case for his own impeachment.

Twice in the last two months, Congress has denied Trump funding for his wall, weathering the longest partial “government shutdown” in US history rather than give it to him in December and denying it a second time with the funding bill he signed in February.

Congress saying “no” when the president asks for money is not an “emergency.” He only gets to spend the money they give him, and he only gets to spend that money on the things they’ve told him he can spend it on.

As Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution puts it, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” That’s one of many provisions in the Constitution that make the US a representative democracy with separation of powers rather than a monarchy or dictatorship.

Trump’s declaration of a fake “national emergency” was actually a declaration that he is now an absolute monarch, a dictator, no longer accountable to Congress for his actions.

If that’s not covered by the Constitution’s “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” clause outlining grounds for impeachment, what is?

And if Congress isn’t prepared to respond accordingly, why should they — or we — bother with the continuing charade that they, or the law, matter at all?

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail