The Senate Has Enough Votes From Republicans And Democrats To Vote Against Trump’s National Emergency
Congress is ready to reject President Trump’s call for a national emergency over his long-demanded border wall. In a clear statement that it will defend its ability to control federal spending, the U.S. Senate will have enough votes to pass a resolution of disapproval, which will block the national emergency declaration. While President Trump is expected to veto the move, it demonstrates how unpopular the call for a national emergency currently is in Congress.
The House of Representatives has already voted 245-182 in support of a resolution blocking Trump’s declaration.
Thirteen Republicans in the House joined Democrats in backing the measure. With a handful of Republicans joining Democrats, the Senate appears to have the 51 votes necessary to pass a resolution against President Trump’s emergency declaration. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul joined Sen. Susan Collins, Thom Tillis and Lisa Murkowski in giving Democrats the 51-vote majority they need to approve the resolution in the upper chamber.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged this during a press conference. McConnell talked about the vote count and his disapproval of the president’s use of power.
“I was one of those hoping the president would not take the national emergency route,” McConnell told reporters. “Once you decide to do that, I said I would support it, but I was hoping he wouldn’t take that particular path.”
Yet, On Feb. 15, The Boston Globe reported that McConnell fully supported President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to divert funds for a border wall.
“I indicated to him I’m going to support the national emergency declaration,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, according to The Boston Globe.
President Trump declared a national emergency last month after Congress sent him a bipartisan funding bill that didn’t include funding for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The national emergency declaration allows him to get billions of dollars from other sources of the government to pay for the barrier. Trump claims the border wall is necessary to reduce the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants into the U.S.
“I could do the wall over a longer period of time,” Trump declared to reporters after announcing the national emergency. “I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster,” he said. “And I don’t have to do it for the election. I’ve already done a lot of wall for the election. 2020. And the only reason we’re up here talking about this is because of the election—because they want to try to win an election, which it looks like they’re not going to be able to do.”
In contrary to his words, the fact remains that there has been no movement or work in constructing the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Despite the Senate’s support for the resolution, Congress will not likely block the emergency declaration since Trump has vowed to veto it.
While the Senate has enough votes to pass a resolution and have it end up on Trump’s desk, the president has already vowed to veto it. This essentially means that Congress would need two-thirds of its members in both House and Senate to overrule the veto, which is unlikely.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that if the President vetoes the resolution, Democrats will most likely respond in Congress and in court.
“We’ll fight him in the Congress, we’ll fight him in the courts and we’ll fight him in the court of public opinion,” Pelosi told reporters. “What he’s doing is wrong and the Republicans know it.”
While Trump may veto the bill, the Senate vote will have a big impact on how courts see the validity of his call for a national emergency.
At this time, Democrats have enough votes needed to pass a resolution in the Senate. However, there could be even more Republicans joining their efforts that will display a rare rebuke of presidential authority. As Trump is expected to execute his first-ever veto to block the measure, there will be lasting impact from the Senate vote.
The plaintiffs in multiple lawsuits will use the Senate vote as an example of President Trump overreaching his powers by declaring a national emergency. Having this congressional repudiation from both Democrats and Republicans outlines how many in Congress feel about Trump’s call for a national emergency.
Even after the veto, this doesn’t mean Trump’s wall is a done deal. There are already countless lawsuits and legal cases to be dealt with before a single piece of wall is built.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the resolution next week.