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GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer Says Trump's Emergency Declaration Is 'Unnecessary'

Cramer tells Reason he's not sure which way he'll vote on a resolution to block it.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/NewscomTom Williams/CQ Roll Call/NewscomSen. Kevin Cramer (R–N.D.) said Friday he has "concerns" about President Donald Trump's use of a national emergency declaration to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and believes the action to be "unnecessary," but isn't sure how he'll vote on a resolution to block it.

"I plan to vote on it. How I'm going to vote I haven't decided for sure yet," Cramer told Reason at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

"I have concerns about it as well," he added, referring to Trump's emergency declaration. "I frankly think it's unnecessary, but we'll see."

Last week, the House of Representatives voted 245-182 in favor of a resolution to block the national emergency. The resolution now heads to the Senate, where its passage is uncertain. Assuming all Democrats vote in favor of the resolution, four Republicans would need to defect in order to send the legislation to Trump's desk. Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Thom Tillis (N.C) have all indicated they plan to buck their party on this issue, according to CBS News, and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R–Tenn.) has also expressed concern. Even if the resolution passes the Senate, Trump has said he'll veto it, and it's exceedingly unlikely that two-thirds of both houses of Congress will vote to override that veto.

Cramer added that he believes Trump is acting within his legal authority.

"I think [Trump] may" have the power to declare an emergency to build the wall, he said. "I didn't used to think so, the more I've studied the more I think he may have that. I'm not sure he should have it, but I think he may have that authority."

"But we do need a wall," Cramer concluded.

Cramer previously said in a statement to the Associated Press last month that "the southern border is a national emergency now." In its continuously updated story on senators who have expressed public sentiments about Trump's national emergency declaration, The Washington Post has Cramer firmly in the "support" column.

Photo Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

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  • Jgalt1975||

    So does anyone know why Rand Paul's apparent lack of taking a clear position on the resolution isn't getting more attention around here?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I don't know. I actually don't understand why this post is a news story.

  • DenverJ||

    We've all given up on Ron's kid?

  • Flinch||

    I expect he's hanging back to give room for the nitwits in the room that are undecided: they sometimes knee jerk counter to whatever position he takes. Probably the usual suspects: Collins, Snowe, Rubio etc.

  • Tony||

    Proposition: The President may authorize a national emergency and assume the entailed powers on a total whim about a problem that doesn't exist.

    Libertarians: How long will they give me to think it over?

  • DenverJ||

    No Tony. Libertarians say: why the fuck is congress giving the executive thai kind of power?

  • hpearce||

    Wrong tense.
    Either the congress or the judicial branch HAS given the president that authority - at least legally .
    ALL libertarians know the state violates the Constitution every day for what is legal.

  • hpearce||

    Wrong tense.
    Either the congress or the judicial branch HAS given the president that authority - at least legally .
    ALL libertarians know the state violates the Constitution every day for what is legal.

  • Flinch||

    Right you are, Denver. Congress has been looking for a king since Washington was president, and it's an ongoing process/problem. Thankfully, he tired of their idiocy and went back home to Virginia which slowed them down for a time.

  • DesigNate||

    Hi, we've been here for the last 20 years at least telling you craven morons not to keep investing more power in the executive. You were just too busy running around with your fingers in your ears going "na na na, I can't hear you!"

  • ElvisIsReal||

    "But why would we curtail these powers? We're never gonna lose another election!"

    **Loses next election**

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    What a gutless coward.
    Wasn't this guy just elected a few months ago? So he won't even have to face the voters again for 6 years. And he still won't take a stand.

  • DenverJ||

    "I don't know" isn't an acceptable answer?

  • Ray McKigney||

    We demand purity!

  • commentguy||

    It's acceptable for a week or two. Trump has been threatening to announce an emergency for two months now.

  • RobertWorth||

    He's not a coward. He's a smart Republican politician. Their base is a bunch of deplorable morons. If you want to work within that Party, you must pander to them or you are out.

  • DesigNate||

    That's jeff's point though, he has 6 years before he has to worry about being kicked out.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Jeff, are you taking time out from sponsoring illegal child predators to comment here? How generous of you pedo boy.

  • gclancy51||

    Oh, it's the vaguely psychotic shitlord who regularly advocates violence. What cogent points have you for us today...

    ...Repetition of a shitty Tulpa slur...

    ...wow, one of your better days!

  • DenverJ||

    "The Washington Post has Cramer firmly in the "support" column."
    Well, we all know and trust the Washington post.

  • Ray McKigney||

    "Democracy Dies in Darkness. And We're Counting on It."

  • turco||

    It is NOT an emergency. Emergency implies time is of the essence . He had time to ask Congress. Congress said no.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Which makes it an emergency.

  • Flinch||

    Which illegal alien/foreign national cancelled YOUR vote in 2016? Congress won't act for decades now, plus the aid & comfort in providing a shell for subversion we know as Motor Voter adds insult to injury.
    Whether we think a problem actually exists or not, there's a question that deserves asking: what can we do to remedy congress if it becomes a seditious body? Only they have the power of impeachment, so who can act? From what we've seen unfolding in the stalemate between Pelosi and Trump, it looks like an article 5 convention of states is the only lifeboat, but a group of 4 or 5 governors have to focus the drive to do that, which doesn't happen too often - most are consumed with internal matters.
    I have a passport - will it mean anything in 20 years?

  • Presskh||

    Several thousand people per day illegally invading across our southern border is not an emergency? Since protecting our borders is one of the federal government's core functions and the current system has not worked for decades, pray tell why this does not rise to the level of a federal emergency.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The open border people still wont admit that they dont have a vetoproof majority for this bill.

    Even if the RINOs in the Senate pass this, why would

  • loveconstitution1789||

    ... Trump sign this bill?

    He has Lefties by the short hairs.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Wingnut delusions of adequacy are always entertaining. How's the culture war going, clingers? Half a century of losing to your betters enough for you yet, or do you need another dose of increasing irrelevance?

  • Flinch||

    If past is prologue, the chamber of commerce stands ready to hit the gop with another dose of stupid, to the consternation of those that remember what it is to work in the private sector.

  • SimonP||

    Conflating whether the president has the "authority" to declare a national emergency with the decision whether to override any particular declaration does a disservice to the separation of powers, the law, and the idiots like the Reason commentariat, who will easily forget these kinds of distinctions if not repeated constantly for them.

    The point of congressional disapproval is not to determine whether the president has the "authority" to declare a particular national emergency; it's to weigh in on whether a national emergency actually exists. If it doesn't, then you're bound to disapprove of the declaration. Period. To do otherwise, because the president will easily veto your disapproval bill or because you want to build the wall anyway, is to abdicate your primary role as a legislator.

  • killboyumeed847548588||

    Well, unless you can get them all together and can use a bomb. Hmmm, sayyyy, are there are any places you can think of where central planners are collected together?

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