When Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a twofold announcement Thursday that President Donald Trump would approve the budget proposal and declare a national emergency at the southern border, Washington legislators Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Sen. Patty Murray issued statements that this could establish a troubling precedent.

Cornell Clayton.

Cornell Clayton, director of Washington State University’s Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, was not surprised by McMorris Rodgers’ position.

“It’s a consistent position that most conservatives have taken,” Clayton said. “They’ve been very squeamish — in the eight years of the Obama administration, in particular — about the expansive use of executive branch power.”

“I think it’s going to be a very interesting proposition, and there’s a number of conservative senators who are on record as saying they would be opposed to using emergency powers to do this,” Clayton said. “… I think it’s not a done deal in the Senate, and I think it will be a close vote.”

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