Business groups react to national-emergency declaration for border wall
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Sixteen states, roughly one of three in the U.S., are suing to block President Trump’s decision to bypass Congress and declare a national emergency to access billions of federal dollars to fund a southern border wall with Mexico. Where do business groups stand on this matter?
Garrick Taylor is senior vice president of government relations and communications for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "The decision is a bad one," according to him. "It sets a terrible precedent and it once again punts to the courts a matter that should be legislated and negotiated with the executive branch."
In other words, Trump sidestepping Congress after it rejected his $5.7 billion funding request to build a U.S. border wall with Mexico is a sign of political dysfunction. Taylor continues, "If the declaration of an emergency becomes a regular political tool, one can only imagine the issues over which it could be declared. Think climate change or Medicare-for-all. It’s bad for the entire institution."
President Gerald Ford signed the National Emergencies Act in 1976. Since then, "there have been 58 national emergencies declared under the law, and 31 of them are still in effect," according to Jonah Goldberg of the National Review.
Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, focusing on defense strategy, defense budgets and military preparedness. "Any way you slice it, declaring an emergency and misusing military construction funding will prove remarkably short-sighted," according to her.
"First, every military construction and family housing project with dollars diverted to the wall will stop immediately," according to Eaglen. That sounds like a recipe to dampen business for the construction firms and their suppliers involved.
Just ask millions of unpaid federal contractors from the 35-day partial government shutdown. They know a thing or two about diverted greenbacks.
Time will tell how that legal precedent stands up. Perhaps there is an Eleventh Commandment that also affects businesses. Avoiding constitutional crises to let Congress do its work supports commercial activity.
Wait a second. The legal cases resulting from Trump’s emergency declaration means that one industry will gain. At least this is not a losing proposition all around.
Attorneys challenging the president’s declaration of a national emergency to construct a border wall will have more work. Then again, much remains unclear about Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a southern border wall, economically speaking.
Frank Knapp helms the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.
"Unless we know what projects are not going to be funded," he said to MultiBriefs in an email interview, "we don’t know what business might be negatively impacted. I also don’t know how the money will be spent on the border to positively impact businesses."
The Business Roundtable and National Federation of Independent Business declined requests to comment.
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