Members of Maine's congressional delegation are strongly objecting to reports that President Trump will declare a national emergency to fund construction of additional miles of a border wall.
The move comes on the heels of bipartisan approval of a $333 billion government spending bill that includes nearly $1.4 billion for the wall.
In a tweet Republican Sen. Susan Collins said declaring a national emergency for the purpose of a border wall would be a mistake on the part of the president. Collins points out that the National Emergencies Act was intended to apply to major national disasters or catastrophes.
My statement on reports President Trump will declare a national emergency to fund more border walls: pic.twitter.com/fTDgKkRDd6
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) February 14, 2019
"I don't believe that the National Emergencies Act contemplates a president unilaterally reallocating billions of dollars already designated for specific purposes outside of the normal appropriations process," Collins said. "Such a declaration would undermine the role of Congress and the appropriations process."
Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree went a step further.
"It's an abuse of power for President Trump to declare a national emergency because he failed to fulfill a campaign promise of Mexico to pay for his multi-billion dollar border boondoggle," she said in a written statement.
Collins questioned the constitutionality of the move. And independent Maine Sen. Angus King said in a tweet that he expects that any move by the president to circumvent Congress will be quickly challenged in court.
The President's plan to declare a ‘national emergency’ to fund his border wall even as his own DHS says that illegal border crossings are declining is not what the Framers of the Constitution intended when they explicitly assigned spending powers to Congress, not the executive.
— Senator Angus King (@SenAngusKing) February 14, 2019
"It's antithetical to our American system of government," King said.
Originally published Feb. 14, 2019 at 6:55 p.m. ET.