U.S. lawmakers are starkly divided over President Donald Trump's use of emergency powers in an effort to seize money to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC SENATOR CHRIS COONS OF DELAWARE, SAYING: "I do think we should not set the terrible precedent of letting a president declare a national emergency simply as a way of getting around the Congressional appropriation process." (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE LINDSEY GRAHAM OF SOUTH CAROLINA, SAYING: "When it comes to Trump, the Congress is locked down and will not give him what we've given past presidents, so unfortunately he's gotta do it on his own and I support his decision to go that route." The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse.
But a funding bill that passed last week did not include $5.7 billion Trump wanted to build a border wall.
And on Friday he decided to try and use an executive order to use other Pentagon funds for the project.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "We have a chance of getting close to $8 billion." The declaration was a clear bid to circumvent Congress's authority over the budget.
Democrats universally condemned the move.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC SENATOR CHRIS COONS (DE), SAYING: "The Congress, is going to jealously defend our right to be the body that decides on federal spending and not let the president use this extreme measure as an end around our appropriations process." Senator Chris Coons on Sunday told Margaret Brennan of CBS News that the U.S. Constitution's Article One prevents a president from taking this power away from Congress.
But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has become a close ally of the president, defended Trump's push to take on his own what he couldn't get from legislators, even if that means potentially taking funds meant for a school to build a barrier, as Brennan pointed out.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE LINDSEY GRAHAM (SC), SAYING: "I would say it's better for the middle school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border.
We'll get them the school they need, but right now we got a national emergency on our hands." Not all Republicans are lining up behind Trump.
Representative Will Hurd's district spans a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE WILL HURD OF TEXAS, SAYING: "Our government was designed for the most ultimate power, the power of the purse, to reside within Congress.
And we shouldn't have an executive - I don't care if it's Republican or Democrat - that tries to get around Congress." Democrats in Congress have vowed to challenge the emergency declaration, but they may not have the votes to override it.