Senate passes measure to end national emergency
by Harvest Prude
Posted 3/14/19, 04:12 pm
UPDATE: In a 59-41 vote Thursday, the Senate decided to terminate President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to secure funds for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The president has promised to veto the resolution, which passed the House by a 245-182 vote on Feb. 26. Congress likely will not have the needed two-thirds majority in each chamber to overturn what could be the first veto of the Trump presidency.
In the House vote last month, 13 Republicans voted with Democrats to terminate the national emergency. The number of Senate defections would have been 13, too, but Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., changed his mind and decided to vote against the resolution despite having expressed his support for it in a February Washington Post op-ed column.
The 12 GOP senators who voted for the resolution to end the declaration were Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi. The resolution is the first time Congress has rejected a presidential emergency since the National Emergencies Act passed in 1976.
OUR EARLIER REPORT (12:23 p.m.): WASHINGTON—The Senate is expected to reject President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration in a bipartisan vote Thursday. The president declared a national emergency on Feb. 15 to fulfill his campaign promise to construct a wall at the U.S. southern border. The declaration allows Trump to access about $3.5 billion to add to funds already appropriated by Congress and pulled from other sources for border security. The resolution blocking the national emergency passed easily in the House of Representatives on Feb. 26.
In an attempt to hold the party together, some Republicans pushed for a compromise bill limiting the president’s power to declare emergencies in the future. Trump shot down that idea Wednesday in a phone call with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Soon afterward, Lee became the fifth GOP senator to side with Democrats and support the resolution against the declaration. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina have also said they would vote with their Democratic colleagues. Several Republican senators have refused to say how they will vote, including Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Mitt Romney of Utah. The White House is bracing for as many as a dozen defections.
On Wednesday, seven GOP senators also broke with the president to vote against further U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war. In response, Trump is expected to issue his first and second presidential vetoes. To override a veto, Congress would need a two-thirds majority in each chamber, a near impossibility in the Republican-held Senate.
Ultimately, the president’s emergency declaration likely will remain intact. “I am prepared to veto, if necessary,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “The Southern Border is a National Security and Humanitarian Nightmare, but it can be easily fixed!”
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.