© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

What Kansas And Missouri Lawmakers Think About Trump's Border Emergency Declaration

Kristofor Husted
KBIA file photo
Missouri Republican U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler says President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration 'needed' to curb the 'flow of deadly drugs' across the U.S.-Mexico border.

This story has been updated to include statements from Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley and Rep. Sam Graves.

For the most part, the reactions of Kansas' and Missouri's congressional delegation to President Donald Trump's emergency declaration Friday fell along party lines.

Trump made the declaration Friday when he signed a bipartisan spending bill to keep the government open. The bill allocated only $1.3 billion of the $5.7 billion he demanded for the wall, and the emergency declaration pulls in $8 billion.

The deal was brokered in part by Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who admitted that it's not what "either side would have preferred." But, he said in a statement, "it does meet our obligation to fund the government and build new physical barriers along the border where they're needed most."

Blunt did not immediately weigh in on the emergency declaration.

His fellow Missouri Republican Josh Hawley was one of 16 senators who voted against the spending deal, saying in a tweet it "doesn't secure the border, weakens ICE."

Regarding the emergency declaration, Hawley said, "The President is pursuing any steps he can to secure the border and build a wall. Democrats put us in this situation because they refused to secure the border and fund the wall."

Republican Rep. Sam Graves was unavailable for comment about the emergency declaration, but explained his vote against the funding bill in a statement saying, "I could not vote for it in good conscience because it did not do enough to protect our national security by fully funding a border wall as we promised. Not only does this bill not fully protect our national security, but it also does not adequately fund ICE, an agency that is critical to the security of this country. We must continue working to solve our crisis at the border."

In Kansas, both of the Republican senators voted for the funding bill. Earlier this year, Sen. Jerry Moran told the Kansas News Service that while he shared Trump's concerns about border security, he hoped Trump would not use his emergency powers to circumvent Congress.

Credit U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs file photo
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs file photo
Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican.

“Throughout my time in the Congress, particularly in the Senate, I have complained about administrations taking more and more of what is constitutionally the responsibility of the United States Congress,” he said. “But I also complain that Congress allows it to happen.”

Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids called the declaration “dangerous to our democracy,” but Republican Reps. Roger Marshall and Ron Estes said it was justified.

Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler echoed her Kansas counterparts, telling KCUR the declaration could have been avoided, but that it was necessary to curb the “flow of deadly drugs.”

“Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi’s insistence on protecting illegal immigration over securing our border has left the President no choice but to declare an emergency," she said.

Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver tweetedbefore Trump’s Friday morning news conference that a border wall is not a national emergency, but that gun violence, climate change, income inequality and access to healthcare are. Republican Rep. Sam Graves did not immediately return a request for comment.

Correction: Vicky Hartzler's first name was misspelled in the original version of this story. Also, the  update at the top initially misidentified Sam Graves as Bill Graves.

Kansas News Service senior correspondent Jim McLean contributed to this report.

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @andreatudhope.

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.