Business, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration

Business and conservative groups typically aligned with the GOP came out strongly against President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems want tougher language on election security in defense bill Five aides to Van Drew resign ahead of his formal switch to GOP The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE’s decision to declare a national emergency over the border, underscoring opposition to the move from traditional Republican circles.

The opponents included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, FreedomWorks and the Heritage Foundation, all of which warned that the decision could set a precedent for a liberal president to take actions opposed by businesses and conservatives.

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“The declaration of national emergency in this instance will create a dangerous precedent that erodes the very system of government that has served us so well for over 200 years," said Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Trump declared the emergency after Congress refused to give him the $5.7 billion in funding he sought to build 234 miles of wall on the Mexican border. By declaring an emergency and using other executive actions, Trump plans to circumvent Congress and win as much as $8 billion in funds for the border, some of which would come from the Department of Defense.

Even before Trump announced his action, Republicans had warned such a tool could be used by a Democratic president to take action on health care or climate change.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump-Pelosi trade deal creates strife among progressives Trump: Pelosi's teeth were 'falling out of her mouth' during press conference Schiff: I 'hope to hell' I would have voted to impeach Obama if he had committed same actions as Trump MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Republicans should be worried that a future president would use Trump’s decision as precedent for declaring an emergency on gun control.

“A Democratic president can declare emergencies as well. So, the precedent that the President is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans,” she said.

Democratic freshman Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (Minn.) went further. 

“Our next President should declare a #NationalEmergency on day 1 to address the existential threat to all life on the planet posed by Climate Change,” she tweeted.

Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks, warned the decision put too much power in the executive branch as opposed to Congress, which is supposed to have greater influence over spending.

“No matter whether a Republican or a Democrat sits in the Oval Office, the concentration of power in the executive branch is alarming,” he said.

Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James said the move carried a “significant downside.”

“This creates a dangerous precedent for future administrations and exposes the critical need for border security to the whims of activist federal judges,” he said.

The Club for Growth, which has frequently supported conservative measures from the president and encouraged members of Congress to back them, remained silent on the issue.

The clash is the latest example of how Trump is challenging and changing the Republican Party, slaying some sacred cows of GOP orthodoxy while adhering tightly to others. 

Trump’s imposition of steep tariffs as part of a multi-pronged trade war has drawn rebukes from farmers, importers, manufacturers and retailers, as well as exporters hit with countermeasures from American trade partners. 

In the world of foreign policy, Trump’s isolationist leanings have drawn rebuke from security hawks and former generals.

The shift has repeatedly put congressional Republicans in a bind, forcing them to choose between the president and their party’s traditional policies.

Republicans from a variety of backgrounds have voiced opposition to the emergency declaration. 

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDemocrats question fairness of Senate trial after Graham, McConnell statements Sunday shows - Republicans, Democrats maneuver ahead of House impeachment vote Paul: Democrats have 'decided to criminalize politics' MORE (R-Ky.), a libertarian, said the move could be unconstitutional. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsIs a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial? The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE (R-Maine), a moderate who is up for reelection in 2020, called it a “mistake.” 

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashFirst-term Democrats push Amash as impeachment manager: report The 'Green' new deal that Tom Perez needs to make Group of House Democrats reportedly attended the White House ball MORE (R-Mich.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said it was “attempting to circumvent the constitution” over a nonemergency. 

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report Democrats spend big to put Senate in play Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' MORE (R-N.C.) painted a picture of how future Democratic presidents might use the same authority. He said that if he were elected to the Oval Office, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden, Sanders lead Democratic field: poll The Memo: 2020 Democratic tensions burst to surface Sanders should fix the child food programs we already have before creating new dysfunction MORE (I-Vt.) could use an emergency declaration to shut down power plants as part of a Green New Deal.

“While I agree with President Trump's policy goal, I don't believe in situational principles, and it's clear what kind of rabbit hole our country can go down when we have a Democratic president who wants more government intrusion into our economy and our lives,” he said.