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|March 22, 2019|
Senate rejects Trump’s emergency declaration, setting up his first veto
WASHINGTON--The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, with 12 Republicans joining all Democrats to deliver a bipartisan rebuke to the president.
The disapproval resolution passed the House last month, so the 59-41 Senate vote will send the measure to Trump’s desk. Trump has promised to use the first veto of his presidency to strike it down, and Congress does not have the votes to override the veto.
“VETO!” Trump tweeted moments after the vote.
Still, the Senate vote stood as a rare instance of Republicans breaking with Trump in significant numbers on an issue central to his presidency, the construction of a wall along the southern border.
For weeks Trump had sought to frame the debate in terms of immigration, arguing that Republican senators who supported border security should back him up on the emergency declaration. But for many GOP lawmakers, it was about a bigger issue: The Constitution itself, which grants Congress, not the president, control over government spending.
By declaring a national emergency in order to bypass Congress to get money for his wall, Trump was violating the separation of powers and setting a potentially dangerous precedent, these senators argued.
“It’s imperative for the president to honor Congress’ constitutional role,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said Thursday on the Senate floor as he announced his vote in favor of the disapproval resolution. “A national emergency declaration is a tool to be used cautiously and sparingly.”
Republicans who voted with Trump and against the disapproval resolution said the president was acting within his authority under the National Emergencies Act, and taking necessary steps to address a humanitarian and drug crisis at the border that Democrats had ignored.
“There is a crisis at the border and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have prevented a solution,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), naming the House speaker and Senate minority leader. “It should never have come to this, but in the absence of congressional action, the President did what Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer refused to do.”
Many GOP senators agonized at length before deciding how to vote, with significant numbers of them, including Portman and Gardner, who is up for re-election next year, waiting until Thursday to announce their positions.
In the end only one Republican who is up for re-election next year, Susan Collins (R-Maine), voted for the disapproval resolution.
In addition to Collins and Portman, the other 10 GOP senators voting for the disapproval resolution were: Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rand Paul (Ky.), Mitt Romney (Utah), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.), and Roger F. Wicker (Miss.). (Source: The Washington Post)
Story Date: March 15, 2019