What is the Point?

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to put more money behind his border wall after Congress agreed bipartisan to a lesser amount. The declaration can be seen as subverting Congress and diminishing its role in appropriating. Typically, members of the Legislative branch would be furious and attempt to uphold their authority against Executive branch overreach. Yet, North Dakota Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer are celebrating President Trump forgoing Congress. Is anybody surprised?

Kevin Cramer declared he would be with Trump, “100 percent of the time.” His fawning over Trump is sadly expected. Cramer clearly wants to allow Trump to do whatever he wants and has a proven track record of attempting to justify comments and actions of the President when others would not.

If you have followed John Hoeven’s statements in the past you might be taken aback by is complacency with Trump’s declaration. Consistency is not Hoeven’s strength and perhaps no other recent moment makes that more clear than his position on the use of disputed Executive authority. Today, Hoeven has no issue with President Trump forgoing Congress on immigration issues even after Hoeven was a part of the bipartisan negotiations to keep the government funded and avert another shutdown. It is a stark contrast from what Hoeven stated in November of 2014 following then President Obama’s Executive Order on immigration issues.

In the recent election, the people of America spoke. They said clearly that they want President Obama to work with Congress in a bipartisan manner. He should not be circumventing the elected representatives of the American people with a unilateral executive order.

The right approach is to work with Congress on immigration reform that begins by making sure we control our border. Americans want to know that the border is secure and our laws are enforced. – Senator John Hoeven (11/21/14)

Senator Hoeven took great issue with President Obama issuing an executive order but is perfectly content with President Trump issuing a more sweeping unilateral action in declaring a national emergency. The timing of these different political stances so close after a midterm election where the President’s party lost a large number of their seats should be noted as well. Hoeven’s hypocrisy at it’s finest and in full display.

Questions surround today’s declaration by President Trump. Is it legal? Will it set a precedent for future presidents to push forward without Congress? What is the point of Congress if they so willingly to give up their authority to the Executive branch? That back and forth between the Legislative and Executive branches are common. Our system was designed that way for the purposes of checks and balances.

Tyler Axness
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