Oregon Lawmakers Concerned About National Emergency Declaration

By Meerah Powell (OPB)
Feb. 15, 2019 5:30 p.m.

The region's Democrats and Republicans had equal concerns over President Trump's national emergency declaration Friday.

Republican Oregon Rep. Greg Walden said in a statement that he does not agree with the President's willingness to spend money outside of Congressional authorization.


"Congress has granted the executive branch certain spending authorities. I strongly object to any president acting outside of those explicit authorities to spend money that Congress has not appropriated for specific initiatives," Walden said.

Walden, the only Republican in Oregon's Congressional delegation, said he consistently supports border security efforts, but worries about "the precedent that [the President's] action sets."

Related: Trump Declares National Emergency At The Border After Congress Approves Compromise Legislation

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., also came out against the declaration.


"I oppose the president's national emergency," Cantwell said in a statement. "The president is trying to make an end-run around Congress. We have a separation of powers and checks and balances that must be maintained."

In a statement, Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer said President Trump's national emergency was for a "fake crisis at the border."

"[S]urely Congress should be able to call a national emergency for our real crises," Blumenauer said. "We should be working to end the gun violence epidemic, give Americans universal health care and address the climate crisis. The American people will not be fooled by more of Trump's fear-mongering."

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon called the national emergency declaration a dictatorial action.

“This is basically what happens in a dictatorship,” he said Thursday. “You declare an emergency and you do whatever you want.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., expressed similar views over Twitter Thursday stating: "The only national emergency here is the damage Trump’s fragile ego is doing to the country."

Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Southwest Washington also did not support the declaration, she said in a statement Thursday.

“I have voted repeatedly and consistently for increased security on our borders, but I do not support the president using a national emergency declaration to redirect funds toward the border that were already appropriated for other purposes by Congress,” Herrera Beutler said. “If President Obama had ever hinted at using emergency powers in this way I would have spoken out strongly against it, and consistency demands that I do the same now.”