Tillis explains his position on Trump’s emergency declaration

By on February 27, 2019

By Sen. Thom Tillis

President Trump has few bigger allies than me when it comes to supporting his vision of 21st-century border security, encompassing a major investment in technology, personnel and infrastructure, including new physical barriers where they will be effective. It is a vision that will take many years and tens of billions of dollars to fully realize, and the president can count on me to help.

The president is rightfully frustrated with Congress’s inaction regarding the humanitarian and security crisis at the nation’s southern border. Even though Republicans and Democrats spent the past several decades in the halls of Congress and on the campaign trail promising the American people that they would work to secure U.S. borders, some of my colleagues seemingly made a politically calculated decision to block the president’s good-faith efforts to finally get it done. They have regressed to the point where a Democratic presidential contender such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and a possible candidate, former congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas, are even entertaining the possibility of tearing down existing physical barriers.

Although Trump certainly has legitimate grievances over congressional Democrats’ obstruction of border-security funding, his national emergency declaration on Feb. 15 was not the right answer.

From the perspective of the chief executive, I can understand why the president would assert his powers with the emergency declaration to implement his policy agenda. After all, nearly every president in the modern era has similarly pushed the boundaries of presidential power, many with the helping hand of Congress.

In fact, if I were the leader of the Constitution’s Article II branch, I would probably declare an emergency and use all the tools at my disposal as well. But I am not. I am a member of the Senate, and I have grave concerns when our institution looks the other way at the expense of weakening Congress’s power.

It is my responsibility to be a steward of the Article I branch, to preserve the separation of powers and to curb the kind of executive overreach that Congress has allowed to fester for the better part of the past century. I stood by that principle during the Obama administration, and I stand by it now.

Conservatives rightfully cried foul when President Barack Obama used executive action to completely bypass Congress and unilaterally provide deferred action to undocumented adults who had knowingly violated the nation’s immigration laws. Some prominent Republicans went so far as to proclaim that Obama was acting more like an “emperor” or “king” than a president.

There is no intellectual honesty in now turning around and arguing that there’s an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach — that it’s acceptable for my party but not thy party.

Republicans need to realize that this will lead inevitably to regret when a Democrat once again controls the White House, cites the precedent set by Trump, and declares his or her own national emergency to advance a policy that couldn’t gain congressional approval.

This isn’t just conjecture. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other prominent Democratic elected officials have already hinted that emergency declarations will be part of the playbook for the left, with Pelosi musing, “just think about what a president with different values can present to the American people.”

Conservatives should take these warnings seriously. They should be thinking about whether they would accept the prospect of a President Bernie Sanders declaring a national emergency to implement parts of the radical Green New Deal; a President Elizabeth Warren declaring a national emergency to shut down banks and take over the nation’s financial institutions; or a President Cory Booker declaring a national emergency to restrict Second Amendment rights.

Those on the left and the right who are making Trump’s emergency declaration a simple political litmus test of whether one supports or opposes the president and his policies are missing the mark. This is about the separation of powers and whether Congress will support or oppose a new precedent of executive power that will have major consequences.

As a U.S. senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress. As a conservative, I cannot endorse a precedent that I know future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies that will erode economic and individual freedoms.

These are the reasons I would vote in favor of the resolution disapproving of the president’s national-emergency declaration, if and when it comes before the Senate.

House passes resolution to nullify Trump’s national emergency declaration »

Thom Tillis is a Republican U.S. Senator representing North Carolina. This column first appeared in The Washington Post

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olin hardy

The Dems will win big for the next 10 years!

GOP voter

Polls show that stopping illegal immigration is the number one issue with Republican voters, and Tillis has failed us miserably on this. Not only with his opposition to building a border wall but with his vote for the bad border bill that had 1700 pages of Democrat regulations handicapping our border patrol in enforcing our immigration laws. Shame on you, Thom TIllis. I will not make the mistake of voting for you again.

I’m enjoying this! So, if y’all would read Tillis’ explanation as to why he’s going to vote against the declaration, it’s because it’s against the law. Article 1 of the Constitution gives the “power of the purse” to Congress. A President can’t reallocate monies that have already been appropriated by Congress. Even if the declaration passes with a Trump veto, the courts will certainly rule against it. Tillis’ reasoning saves our country a lot of time & money. Where was this emergency when the GOP held both houses of Congress and the White House for the past 2 years? This… Read more »


Like Ann Coulter said: “The Only National Emergency Is That Our President Is An Idiot”.


Typical politician trying to justify with a bunch of nonsense. Whether or not Trump uses an emergency declaration will not sway future Dems from doing the same, as Obama and every other president has done. Tom Tillis is no conservative that’s for sure. I also had a hard time voting for him and am not surprised at his position. Republicans had 2 years to get things done but obviously this was not a priority. How many Americans have to die before this can be called a crisis? Senator?……

Senator Tillis, I’m not sure what’s more disturbing. That you are that naive, or that you think we as voters are stupid enough to buy that story.


I wish I had just read the article and skipped the comments. How blindly some follow party over nation is disturbing. It seems to be so pervasive these days, but Trump followers have taken it to a new level. While I have many disagreements with Senator Tillis, a vote to protect our three branches of government is s vote I have to support. I know there will be a price to pay for your vote but it is a vote more senators need to have the courage to make. Now Senator Tillis, can you take that courage a be more… Read more »


I’m with Kdhdeb. I would go further though and say throw the bum out. I’m hoping both him and Burr are primaried and lose. NC deserves better than to be represented by ‘two bumps on a log’

Y'all are crazy!

“It is a vision that will take many years and tens of billions of dollars to fully realize, and the president can count on me to help.” TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS! Where is this money coming from? Mr. Tillis you are a joke and I am not allowed to say what your president is in a public forum.


Take the blindfold off Tillis !!!!
I bet your vote would be different if a loved one or close friend has been lost (Like I had Happen to me) to an Illegal Alien !!!
Drugs by the ton, Human Trafficing by the thousands, Unlawful entry by the thousands, Criminals and Gangs entering unchecked isnt a crisis then I’d like to know what is !!!
I voted for you last time………………..and you can bet I wont do it again !!!


I sincerely hope Sen. Tillis will reconsider. For some reason he must think that if Donald Trump does not wield his presidential power, a Democrat will also elect to “follow suit” in the future. How naïve!

Secondly, at present, Thom Tillis would rather power be in the hands of AOC and gang as opposed to the President. Senator Tillis, this is how I (and other constituents) interpret your comments. Please reconsider!

Spoony Rae

Tom, Tom, Tom, Do you really think your constituents are that thick? If you are so concerned about separation of powers, introduce a bill to rescend the powers congress gave the President to declare an emergency. Oh yes, we know you aren’t reclaiming powers because you gave them away through the legislative process. Your superiority is really wearing thin with us who know your game, your problem is the cut off of cheap labor to your donors, at least be honest and lose the fake outrage. If you get out of Washington and spend a little time with your serfs,… Read more »

Flocks here. Listen fellow Obxers, you might disagree with the guy. But he has a point. Calling for an emergency when there isn’t one doesn’t work. Especially if the lefties get a hold of office and try the same stunt. I’m with don’t tread on me. This is a republic, not a monarchy. Go after those who overstay their visas. That’s the real problem 😂. Gotta go. It’s 🍺 o clock. Koo Flocks, signing off.


Thanks Sen. Tillis. Checks and Balances are there for a reason.


Funny republicans held the majority in house and senate for two years and couldn’t pass a wall bill. “And who’s going to pay for it?” “Mexico” screams the lunatic trump base!! Lol
Now Tillis knows the orange emperor is going to take $$ from N.C. for his silly wall that the majority of citizens do not want.


Remove him from office ! NOW


You might have won my vote with this. We’ll see.

You lost my vote

One term Tom


I held my nose and voted for him once. I won’t do that again.

don't tread on me

Smart man Sen. Tillis. If we wanted a monarchy we would have stayed with Great Britain.