WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten following passage of a bipartisan bill to fund the government and reports that President Trump will declare a national emergency:
“There are plenty of real emergencies in our country and in the world—hurricanes and fires, war and genocide, gun violence and opioid addiction, climate change and poverty. But thankfully, as the Republican mayor of El Paso and so many others can attest, there is no emergency at our southern border. By declaring a national emergency based on his desire to turn a fear-based campaign slogan into reality, President Trump is acting more like a despot than a U.S. president. For more than 200 years, our leaders of all parties thought long and hard before they undermined the constitutional separation of powers and the rule of law. This is an abuse of power, and Congress should do everything in its power to hold Trump accountable because nobody, not even the president, is above the law.
“Congress reached a bipartisan compromise to avoid another disastrous government shutdown that would again hold hundreds of government employees and contractors hostage without pay, imperil our most vulnerable citizens, and put public safety at risk. While far from perfect, this is how governing works, and the president can’t just declare a national emergency because he’s pouting, or because pundits are baiting him. Also concerning is the contemplation that he will divert funding from real emergencies like disaster relief for Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
“President Trump should sign what Congress passed, keep the government open and start solving people’s problems rather than dangerously undermining our democracy because of a campaign slogan.”