Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday that President Donald Trump should declare a national emergency if the latest bipartisan effort to reopen government fails.
“If that’s the case, then I’m begging the president, please declare a national emergency. Please do it, Mr. President, because we are in a political meltdown,” the red-state Democrat told reporters Wednesday.
“We’re trying everything,” he added.
Manchin is part of a bipartisan group of senators, including Sens. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who have been meeting to try to come up with a deal to reopen the federal government, even for a brief period of time, in order to further negotiate border funding without sacrificing federal workers’ pay.
When asked if it would be conditional for the president to declare a national emergency in order to secure border wall funding, the West Virginia Democrat said it would be challenged in the courts.
“I think … the courts are there, the equal powers are there. The three branches of government are there for a purpose,” he said. “We have the courts intervene in a lot. So this would be no different than that.”
However, Manchin’s Senate colleagues, including fellow Democrats, are less behind the prospects of the president declaring a state of emergency.
“I think he’ll end up in a lawsuit, so I’m not sure how productive it would be,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told IJR in an interview last week. “It will precipitate a lawsuit. So that means rather than solving the problem in days, we are looking at months or years before the issue is resolved.”
Graham, a close ally to the president, also recently tweeted that it’s “time for President [Trump] to use emergency powers to build Wall/Barrier.”
“Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to negotiate on Wall/Barrier funding – even if the government were to be reopened – virtually ends congressional path to fund Wall/Barrier,” Graham added. “I hope it works.”