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Trump's National Emergency Declaration Plan Sparks Criticism From Utah's Members of Congress

Congressman Chris Stewart
Kelsie Moore
Republican Rep. Chris Stewart.

U.S. Congressman Chris Stewart is calling President Trump’s plan to declare a national emergency for more border funding a “mistake” that could come back to haunt Republicans in the future.

“It deeply worries me that a future Democratic President may consider gun violence or climate change a ‘national emergency’ and what actions they may then take,” said Stewart in a statement shortly after a deal was reached to avert another government shutdown.

Stewart joined other members of Utah’s delegation in raising concerns over Trump’s plans.

“Congress needs to solve the difficult problems facing our border and broken immigration — we cannot rely on executive actions to get our job done,” said Rep. John Curtis in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced earlier Thursday that while Trump would sign the bipartisan government funding bill, he would also seek an emergency declaration to secure more money for a border wall.

Utah Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney both said they were leery of the executive action but they would wait until Trump actually declares an emergency to comment further.

“I will reserve judgment on any potential executive action by the President until I am able to fully evaluate it, but as I’ve said, I do not believe declaring a national emergency is the right approach,” said Romney.

Sen. Lee was also critical of the $333 billion spending deal agreed to by congressional negotiators from both parties. He joined 15 other senators in rejecting the compromise, which now heads to the House.

“This was a bad spending bill for many reasons, most egregiously because it incentivizes drug cartels to traffic minors across our southern border,” Sen. Lee said in a statement.

Utah’s sole Democratic Congressman Ben McAdams said he is opposed to the emergency declaration but supports the spending deal that includes $1.375 billion for 55 additional miles of fencing, far less than Trump had requested.

“Government shutdowns are terrible for workers, our economy and our national security. The President should never again harm all three by forcing a government shutdown to get his way,” McAdams said in a statement.


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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