GOP rep: Trump emergency declaration puts US in 'uncharted territory'

GOP rep: Trump emergency declaration puts US in 'uncharted territory'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdImpeachment hearings likely to get worse for Republicans The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings Here are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing MORE (R-Texas) said Sunday that the U.S. has entered “uncharted territory” with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE’s use of national emergency powers to secure funding for a wall along the southern border.

Hurd, the lone Republican who represents a district along the southern border, said on CBS's “Face the Nation” that an emergency declaration was not necessary to address immigration issues, and cautioned that Trump’s decision could adversely impact his constituents and the military.

“I don’t think we needed a national emergency declaration,” Hurd said. “That is not a tool that the president needs in order to solve this problem.”

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He pointed to increasing pay for Border Patrol agents to increase retention, additional cooperation with Mexican authorities and increased use of technology as alternative measures that could deter illegal immigration.

Hurd noted that Trump's plans for a wall could force Texas to cede more than 1 million acres of farmable land. If the government seizes that land, it would force 1,000 ranchers and farmers to go to court over their property, the congressman said.

Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to bypass Congress and spend roughly $8 billion on barriers along the southern border.

The president's declaration highlighted $3.6 billion in military construction funding toward the border project. Those funds would be paired with separate executive action repurposing about $2.5 billion from the Defense Department’s drug-interdiction program and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund. 

Lawmakers from both parties have pushed back against Trump's emergency declaration, and the move has already drawn a flurry of lawsuits. 

"I’m always open to making sure that Congress takes back some of its power as a co-equal branch of government," Hurd said Sunday. "And I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of conversations. We’re almost in uncharted territory, because I think … that this is one of the first times there’s been a disagreement between the executive branch and Congress on what is indeed a national emergency."

Hurd did not say whether he would support a resolution to block Trump's declaration, but said he would back a measure that "reviews how you declare a national emergency" or that would prevent a president from raiding military construction funds. 

"We just spend the last four years rebuilding our military making sure the men and women in our armed forces have the tools that they need," he said. "I don’t want to see that money being taken away from that."