U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman voted in favor of the spending bill that will keep the government open late Thursday night, calling it a “compromise I can live with,” but he was adamant that the national emergency President Donald Trump may declare to get funding for his border was a move that was simply for “optics” and that would never stand up to court scrutiny.
“When you look at all these things, this is hardly a Trump budget deal,” he told the Times-Standard shortly after the House of Representatives vote that sent the bill to the president’s desk. “This is mostly on our terms. This is why, in part, the president needs to try this national emergency tactic, which won’t be successful. I think he understands he has to have political cover with his rightwing base.”
Huffman noted the deal passed Thursday night provided even less than the bill Trump refused to sign that spurred the longest government shutdown in recent history.
“He could have spared us a government shutdown and actually gotten a better deal for himself,” Huffman said. “What we approved tonight gave him less money than what was on the table in December.”
Huffman said there were several elements of the bill he supported wholeheartedly.
“I am pleased that we have 20 miles (along the border) that we designated as off-limits,” he said. “If President Trump wanted to get a border wall, this is taking him in the other direction, in my opinion.”
He also said that it cut funding for Border Patrol, ICE personnel or deportation activities, adding “but we still have a lot of work to do to address abuses many of us are troubled by.”
He was adamant the national emergency play will not be successful.
“I believe the courts will shut down this bogus national disaster maneuver,” he said. “… This is about optics. People have advised him he won’t get away with this.”
North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire was also critical of the news Thursday.
“The @GOP should be extremely nervous to establish this dangerous new precedent (especially off of a manufactured crisis),” he tweeted. “No political party is in power forever. Good news, mark my word: Attorneys are lining up and this (ridiculous) move will be ruled unconstitutional.”
The state’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra also reacted strongly on Twitter, saying the crisis was of Trump’s making and “we won’t only call his bluff, we will do what we must to hold him accountable. No one is above the law.”
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein also spoke out against the move.
“There’s no national emergency at the border,” she tweeted Thursday. “Unauthorized border crossings are at their lowest levels in decades, about one-third of their peak levels two decades ago. If there were an emergency, the president wouldn’t have waited two years to make this political decision.”
Ruth Schneider can be reached at 707-441-0520.