Congress is reportedly using the next three weeks to come up with a compromise on security for the southern border.  Problem is Democrats in the House have said no money for a wall.  So from now until February 18, we have what amounts to a political exercise. Then, if the script doesn’t change, Donald Trump will declare a “national emergency” so he can fund his “big, beautiful” barrier.

But there’s a problem with this scenario.  Trump has waited so long since first raising the emergency idea, it’s pretty apparent there is no emergency.  The Atlantic lays out the case in an excellent piece:

“Of course, Trump’s hesitation also belies his claim that there is an emergency at the border. Presidents don’t dawdle in the face of real emergencies. President George W. Bush did not spend weeks scratching his head about whether to issue an emergency declaration after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But even if a real crisis existed, emergency powers are designed for situations in which Congress has no time to act. If Congress does have time, then there is no justification for bypassing the ordinary legislative process.”

It’s now been more than three weeks since Trump first floated the notion of an emergency.  Then he relented to Democrats to reopen the government, spend three more weeks debating border security and then he’ll declare a crisis?

“Indeed, the more time Congress has to act—and the more times it votes against providing the funding the president has asked for—the clearer it becomes that an emergency declaration in this case would be designed as an end-run around the Constitution. Article I provides that “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” 

To make matters worse for the White House, chief of staff Mick Mulvaney all but said on Sunday that Trump will act regardless of any action taken by Congress.  From The Washington Post:

“President Trump is again considering invoking emergency powers to build his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval, roiling the latest bipartisan negotiations over immigration with the renewed threat of unilateral executive action and further dividing Republicans already reeling from the fallout of the shutdown.

“The president’s commitment is to defend the nation, and he will do it either with or without Congress,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.”