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Maine delegation reacts to Trump national emergency plan

Collins, King, Pingree and Golden all expressed forms of disagreement with President Trump's plan to declare a national emergency on the border.
Credit: AP Photo / David Sharp / Robert F. Bukaty
L-R: Sen. Susan Collins; Sen. Angus King; Rep. Chellie Pingree; Rep. Jared Golden

WASHINGTON — Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden all released statements Thursday reacting to President Trump's plan to declare a national emergency, a development first announced by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and subsequently confirmed by the White House.

This president's declaration plan is expected to coincide with the signing of a bipartisan bill to fund the government. As of early Thursday night, the measure had been approved by the Senate and was awaiting a vote in the House.

Sen. Collins, a Republican, called the move a mistake.

"Declaring a national emergency for this purpose would be a mistake on the part of the President," Collins' statement read. "Such a declaration would undermine the role of Congress and the appropriations process; it's just not good policy. It also sets a bad precedent for future Presidents …"

Collins notes the National Emergencies Act's intention was to apply to major natural disasters or catastrophic events, such as the 9/11 attacks. She says the move will almost certainly be challenged in the courts.

"A far better approach would be for the President to submit a timely budget request for additional border security funding," Collins said, "and work with Congress through the normal appropriations process."

Sen. King, an independent, called the plan "antithetical" to the American system of government and, concurring with Collins, expects a legal challenge.

"The President's plan to declare a ‘national emergency’ to fund his border wall even as his own DHS says that illegal border crossings are declining is not what the Framers of the Constitution intended when they explicitly assigned spending powers to Congress, not the executive," King's statement read.

King applauded Congress' ability to negotiate a bipartisan spending bill. "I’m grateful that we do not have to travel down that road once more," he said. "This is the way governing is supposed to work: bipartisan conversations and compromise aimed to address the issues facing the American people."

Rep. Pingree, a Democrat, called the declaration an abuse of power.

"It is an abuse of power for President Trump to declare a national emergency because he failed to fulfill his campaign promise of Mexico paying for his multi-billion dollar border boondoggle," Pingree's statement read. "If President Trump cares about border security, he will continue to work with Congress through the FY2020 budget process."

"The sky isn't falling and most Americans don’t buy his rhetoric," Rep. Golden, also a Democrat, said in his reaction to President Trump's plan. "The president is wrong to use his authority to declare a nat'l emergency."

"Instead," Golden said, "we should fix our immigration system and strengthen our borders with bipartisan deals like the compromise bill we'll pass today. I remain committed to strengthening the border and keeping the government open. Democrats and Republicans have developed a compromise plan that achieves both those goals. That’s how our government is supposed to work."

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