Amash: Trump can't claim emergency to get around Congress

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township

Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash this week criticized the idea of President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency to secure money to build his Southern border wall. 

"@POTUS can’t claim emergency powers for non-emergency actions whenever Congress doesn’t legislate the way he wants," Amash tweeted Monday. 

Amash, who represents the Grand Rapids area, was responding to a statement by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, that Trump "must" declare an emergency for the construction of the wall  if lawmakers fail to reach a deal on border security. 

Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter that previous presidents deployed troops to the border, so "what’s the difference between troops securing the border and troops constructing barriers to secure the border?"

Trump has claimed the "absolute right to do national emergency if I want.”

Amash has suggested declaring a national emergency would be executive overreach because there is no "emergency." 

"An 'emergency' does not elicit endless debate without consensus, nor is it addressed with a plan requiring years to execute," Amash tweeted.

"A house is burning, a ship is sinking, a city is flooding — these are considered emergencies precisely because everyone agrees they require immediate action."

Amash is not the only Republican on Capitol Hill to object. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that such a move is a "terrible idea" and one that might not withstand legal challenge in court. 

"You could very well wind up in sort of a theatric victory at the front end and then not get it done. I think the best way to do it is to have a law passed that funds border security so we know it's going to happen," Rubio said. 

Critics have questioned the legal authority for an emergency and say it could set a precedent that could be abused in the future whenever an agreement can't be reached.

The debate over Trump possibly pursuing the move was reignited after he signed legislation Friday temporarily reopening the government for three weeks following a 35-day partial shutdown.

He has demanded $5.7 billion in wall funding as part of a long-term spending bill. 

“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency," Trump said. 

More committee news 

Freshman Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Rochester Hills, was selected this week to chair the House Science, Space & Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology. 

Congresswoman Haley Stevens

The subcommittee's jurisdiction includes the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

Rep. Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township, will serve as vice chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, which is reserved for members with five or fewer terms on the panel. 

Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, was named the ranking Republican on the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP). He previously chaired the subcommittee in the majority.

Rep. Bill Huizenga of Zeeland is the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets, which oversees banking regulators including the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as well as matters related to consumer credit.

Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, has been appointed to the House Budget Committee, which sets levels of federal spending through the annual budget resolution.

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, has returned to serve on the House Natural Resources Committee again. 

PR firm opens D.C. office 

The public relations firm Truscott Rossman has opened an office in Washington, D.C. — the firm’s fourth office and first located outside Michigan, according to an announcement.

The firm's clients include DTE Energy, Chemical Bank and Detroit Medical Center. It also handled communications for last year's ballot initiative that legalized marijuana in Michigan.

The bipartisan firm started in 2011 with the merger of two of Lansing PR firms — the John Truscott Group and the Rossman Group — and also has offices in Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids. 

The office will be located at 1200 G St., N.W., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005.

State expands online medical pot registration

More medical marijuana patients who need to apply for their registration card can do so online.

The state’s Bureau of Marijuana Regulation expanded its online registration offerings in October but limited the service to medical marijuana patients without caregivers — about 69 percent of Michigan’s patients.

Orlene Hawks, director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The expanded offerings announced Wednesday allow medical marijuana patients with or without a caregiver to apply for a medical marijuana registry identification card. Patients also can remove their caregiver or withdraw from the medical marijuana program online.

The expanded online offerings allow a patient to gain a registry card in as little as two business days.

“It’s a small but significant step in making access to government services easier for Michigan residents,” said state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Orlene Hawks.

Patients using the online service must have physicians who also are registered for an online account.

Patients without a caregiver can also renew their cards online, update their personal information and request replacement cards.