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House Minority Whip Scalise to CBN News: 'There's a Crisis at the Border and the President's Working to Keep the Country Safe'

02-26-2019
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US House of Representatives Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-LA (Photo: Patrick Robertson/CBN News)

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) joins many other Republican lawmakers standing behind the president's national emergency declaration and tells CBN News he doesn't know how anyone can look at the border situation and deny there's a major problem.

"This is clearly one of those cases where the president can declare an emergency and he has because there is a crisis at the border and he's working to keep our country safe," Scalise said ahead of Tuesday's vote in the House to block the president's declaration. 

The Louisiana congressman is also calling out Democrats who he says didn't object when former President Barack Obama used executive orders he believes were unconstitutional to put his policies in place.

"Democrats were silent there but all of the sudden when it comes to the national security of this country - which is a constitutional responsibility of the president to keep our country safe - when the President is standing up and taking legal action to do it now all of the sudden they're wondering if it's allowed," he continued. "The law actually does allow it, the law goes back to 1976 and it's been used dozens of times."

The Senate will take up the resolution next where its fate is uncertain. Republican Senators Susan Collins and Thom Tillis say they plan to vote with Democrats to block the president's declaration. 

"Although Trump certainly has legitimate grievances over congressional Democrats' obstruction of border-security funding, his national emergency declaration on Feb. 15 was not the right answer," Sen. Tillis wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post. "As a US senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress. As a conservative, I cannot endorse a precedent that I know future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies that will erode economic and individual freedoms."

But even if the Senate agrees with the House, the president will surely veto the measure.

"We need to put some kind of physical barrier in place, most people across the Senate support border security," Scalise told CBN News.

The Minority Whip is also trying to bring the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the House floor.  A similar bill already failed in the Senate this week as all but three Democrats voted against it: Senators Joe Manchin, Doug Jones, and Bob Casey.

"What we're trying to do is put legal protection in place that most people are shocked to find out doesn't already exist in law," Scalise explained.

He needs 218 signatures in order to get a vote – a hard number to come by in the Democrat-controlled House.

"You find that so many Democrats are afraid to buck Nancy Pelosi but again on this issue. I don't understand how you can allow a baby to be born alive and then let it be murdered and think that that should be illegal anywhere," Scalise said.

While this bill is unlikely to make it to the president's desk, Republicans want Democrats on the record, regarding this issue heading into the 2020 campaign.

"This is an issue that even most people who identify themselves as being pro-choice think it's wrong to kill the baby after it's born alive," Scalise noted. "This shouldn't even be part of the abortion debate. This should be a protection that's guaranteed to everybody in America." 

Scalise also told CBN News about the Amicus brief he filed for Wednesday's Supreme Court arguments on the Bladensburg Peace Cross case.

"This case has real serious implications on grave sites all across this country if you look at what they're trying to do they're trying to say that you can't display a cross on a gravesite," he said.

Although this case deals solely with a memorial honoring 49 soldiers, Scalise sees a potential major impact. He fears the ruling could eventually determine whether religious symbols will be permitted on headstones in military cemeteries on public land.
 
"Go to Arlington Cemetery, go to any military cemetery and you see whether it's the Star of David or a cross, people that want to be buried and have a religious symbol fixed to their head stone," Scalise explained. "Ultimately if we don't get the right ruling from the Supreme Court it could put at jeopardy all of our cemeteries like Arlington, so it's got a lot of national implications."

The justices could ultimately rule on just this case and ones that are very similar, or issue a broader decision that determines when religious symbols are allowed in the public sphere. 

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