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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

To Preserve, Protect and Defend - Speech in Opposition to Override of the President’s Veto of H.J. Res. 46

March 26, 2019

To Preserve, Protect and Defend
Speech in Opposition to Override of the President’s Veto of H.J. Res. 46
Congressman Tom McClintock
House Chamber, Washington, D.C.
March 26, 2019

Mr. Speaker:

For 43 years, the President of the United States has had the statutory authority granted by Congress to declare a national emergency and to re-program unobligated military construction funds to meet that emergency.  Fifty-eight times, previous presidents have invoked this authority to address such matters as civil unrest in Sierra Leone and Burma.  

Only when THIS President invoked his authority for the 59th time to address the most serious national security risk our country has faced in our lifetimes – the collapse of our southern border – do we hear protests from the left and its fellow travelers.

Under our Constitution, the Congress appropriates money but cannot spend it and the President spends money but cannot appropriate it.  He spends it according to laws given him by Congress.  In this case, Congress appropriated funds, and delegated to the President precisely the authority to spend those funds that he is now exercising.  Whether Congress should have delegated this authority is a separate question that no one has raised in 43 years.  But while that authority exists, the President has both a right and a duty to use it to defend our country.

We also hear protests that the President’s act will divert money from other military projects.  Listen to what these people are saying: they care more about defending the Iraqi border than defending our own.  Such people should not be entrusted with the defense of our country.

I stand with the President who is acting within our Constitution to preserve, protect and defend it, and against the radical left in this house that would dissolve our borders entirely if given the chance.

History warns us that nations that cannot or will not defend their borders aren’t around very long.  Let that not be the epitaph of the American republic or the Constitution that created it.

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Remarks as prepared.