AFSCME President Lee Saunders praised the bipartisan effort in Congress that will keep the government open but called the president’s decision to declare a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border “an abuse of power.”
“I’m pleased that we have a bipartisan spending package that will keep the government open and give federal employees a 1.9-percent raise,” Saunders said in a statement. “Going forward, we need an end to the brinksmanship and a return to normalcy when it comes to funding the government.”
But the Thursday announcement of a compromise package, which includes nearly $1.4 billion for physical barriers at the southern border, came with news that President Donald Trump was set to declare a national emergency – which he did Friday.
By declaring an emergency – a move virtually sure to be challenged in court – Trump seeks to bypass Congress and appropriate federal funds to build his border wall to fulfill a campaign promise. Altogether, he plans to dedicate $8 billion to the wall.
The emergency declaration, Saunders said, “is an abuse of power,” adding that “emergency powers exist to address pressing matters of life and death, not to help presidents shore up their political base.”