Trump 'trying to take the power of the purse away from' Congress: Dem Sen. Duckworth

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a member of the Armed Services Committee, joins "This Week" to discuss the president's planned use of military funds to help build a wall on the southern border.
5:05 | 02/17/19

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Transcript for Trump 'trying to take the power of the purse away from' Congress: Dem Sen. Duckworth
And joining me now is democratic senator Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq W and member of the armed services committee. Senator, it's great to have you here. The house plans to move forward with a resolution opposing this national emergency and in the senate, several Republicans have voiced concern as well, but do you have enough votes in the senate to put ant resolution of termination on the president's desk? I think we do. Now whether we have enough for an override and veto, that's a different story, but frankly I think there is enough people in the senate who are concerned that what he's doing is robbing from the military and the D.O.D. To go and build this wall. That, you know, it's not even really the best way to fight the crisis that he's talking that, you know, seeming that there is one at the border. Nancy Pelosi and chuck Schumer said in their statement on Friday that congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the congress, in the courts and in the public using every remedy available if congress is unable to override a veto which you think is doubtful it seems. Should the house move forward with a lawsuit against the president based on constitutional arguments that only congress can appropriate funds. I agree with that. I think they should. Frankly the president is trying to take the power of the purse away from the legislative branch. We are co-eco branches of government and he's trying to do executive overreach and it's uncalled for. If he wanted to appropriate more money to put more folks, more agents at the border, to put more people at the ports of entry, to go after counter-drug, we can have those conversations, but to make money away from defense, from D.O.D. In order to build this wall that's essentially a campaign promise? I think that's really wrong priorities and I think it's very harmful to the country. The national emergency I discussed with the attorney general gives the president wide latitude. It doesn't even explain what exactly an emergency is. So should that be fixed by congress? Well, that's something we can certainly discuss fixing, but, you know, my perspective is this. Even if there were a national emergency on the border, let's say we accept his premise, the best way to deal with it is not this wall. The best way to deal with it is to put more people at the ports of entry where we know that's where the drugs are coming into the ports of entry. Let's talk about the family separations or the children ripped away from their families at the border. Let's deal with that. It's not about building this wall. Do you think there is a law effective anywhere? There is certainly a wall and barriers and I traveled recently with the head of the cbp in San Diego, and he said we really need one so they can do exactly what you are saying, so they can go to the ports of entry. So back to the original question, is the wall good in certain places? Well, I think it's appropriate in certain places, but the wall that the president wants to build is not appropriate and, in fact, it's just a fulfillment of a campaign promise he hasn't been able to keep. If you talk to the experts down there, what they tell you, it's a combination and smart barriers. More border patrol agents and more drones and all of that stuff. It's not just this wall he wants to build. Power, declaring a national emergency to fulfill a campaign promise and really not addressing the issues that we are facing. Can I go back to -- do you think the national emergencies law should be fixed? Or does that limit future presidents? I think it could limit future presidents and it's up to the legislative branch to sit down and decide if we want to do that. Maybe there is some need for clarity so this abuse doesn't happen in the future. We don't know which military construction projects the money will be taken from under this order, but senior administration officials have described it this way. It will be lower priority projects that will be delayed into next year and they do not impact the lethality and readiness of the military. You're a veteran. What's your response? I don't agree W let me tell you the things that are on the table to be chopped, crash and rescue station in Illinois at an airport that I flew out of for 15 years. That's on the table. Training construction. Training rifle ranges where we send troops to be marksmen to be lethal on the battlefield. Recovery efforts in places like tyndall air force, places recovering from hurricanes. Pads and hangars for the fighter jets. A lot of those things on the table. I just want to end this. If this national security is upheld, do you believe it opens the door for Democrats to declare something like gun violence is a national emergency and Hink they should if this is upheld? I think it certainly is -- it certainly does open the door. I don't want a government in place where we are playing these tit for tat games. It should be one where we should serve the American people by coming to a consensus, and this is not acceptable for our form of democracy. Thanks so much for joining us this morning. Appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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