Things That Matter

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Trump Administration Is Threatening To Overturn The 14th Amendment By Ending Birthright Citizenship

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The Trump Administration Is Threatening To Overturn The 14th Amendment By Ending Birthright Citizenship

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While Donald Trump has made immigration one of the central policies of his presidency, on Wednesday he took it one further. The president told reporters he was “very seriously” considering issuing an executive order to make changes to birthright citizenship, which some argue is protected as a constitutional right. 

“We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby–congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen,” Trump said on Wednesday outside the White House. “It’s frankly ridiculous.”

While the President did not elaborate on what he meant by the statement, many are questioning if this is even possible.   Several lawmakers and political pundits have already cast doubt on his ability to take such action calling the statement “ridiculous.” Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris lauded Trump’s comments on Twitter saying the President “should ‘seriously’ consider reading the Constitution.”

This isn’t the first time that the president has discussed the topic of ending birthright citizenship.

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The president originally brought up the subject of ending the rule that grants automatic citizenship to those born in the United States back during his 2016 presidential campaign. He argued that many migrants make the trip to the southern U.S. border with intentions to have a child shortly after to give them legal status. He brought up the issue again last year when he said he would sign an executive order to end the policy. 

In an interview with Axios last year, President Trump brought up the issue of birthright citizenship. He said the amendment had become a magnet for illegal immigration in the U.S. and has only encouraged more people to come here. 

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” President Trump told Axios at the time. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

At the time, Trump claimed the U.S.  is “the only country in the world” that allows birthright citizenship. That is a lie. Birthright citizenship is a recognized form of citizenship in 32 other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela. 

So what legal standing or power does President Trump have to change birthright citizenship?

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The right to citizenship for anyone born in the U.S. has been guaranteed in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution for more than 150 years. It states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

So what power does President Trump have, if any, of ending the amendment? Not much.

The president cannot amend the Constitution or sign an executive order trying to end or restrict the right to citizenship of an individual born in the U.S. If he did there would almost certainly be a bevy of challenges in court as a violation of the 14th Amendment. In order for birthright citizenship to be revoked in the U.S., the president would need Congress to support the change and vote to ratify the amendment, which are both unlikely to happen. 

While the number of female immigrants that come to the U.S every year to give birth in unclear, The Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that advocates for immigration laws, estimated that in 2012 about 36,000 foreign-born women gave birth in the U.S., then promptly left.

President Trump has made cracking down on immigration a major focus point for his re-election campaign. 

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President Trump’s statement coincidentally came on the same day that his administration announced a proposal to detain migrant families indefinitely. This replaced the decades-old Flores Settlement Agreement that required children to be held no longer than 20 days under government detainment.

Last April, the Trump administration unveiled the controversial “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of thousands of migrant families. That would be later reversed after much blowback from both sides of the political aisle. Just last week, an announcement was made that a range of programs would disqualify immigrants from legal status if they are deemed to be a burden to the U.S. and make it harder to obtain a green card.

So, we will have to wait and see if Trump is willing to knowingly violate the Constitution in an attempt at reelection.

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A Democratic Illinois State Senator Is Facing Backlash From Both Sides Over A Simulated Trump Assassination At A Fundraiser

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A Democratic Illinois State Senator Is Facing Backlash From Both Sides Over A Simulated Trump Assassination At A Fundraiser

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Politics have become increasingly divisive since the election of President Trump. People are angered by what they see and hear on TV and the anger, some say fueled by the president, is leading to violence targeting minority groups. The latest low point in American politics comes from Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval and shocking photos from a recent fundraiser depicting a simulated assassination.

Photos from Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval is the middle of a firestorm following a recent fundraiser.

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The fundraiser, hosted over the weekend, included a moment when someone staged a simulated assassination of President Trump using a fake assault weapon. The fake president was wearing a mariachi outfit and was acting as if he had been shot in the chest.

“The incident that took place is unacceptable,” Sen. Sandoval said, according to WCIA. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”

The photos, just weeks after shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, are sparking outrage from both sides of the political spectrum.

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“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong,” Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “I condemn actions like the ones displayed in the pictures because they lack the civility our politics demands.”

“The apology from Sen. Sandoval for the detestable pictures from his event depicting an assassination of President Trump is too little, too late,” said Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider, according to the New York Post. “Dangerous imagery like this will be condemned and seen as inappropriate by people of sound mind; however, a mentally unstable individual who wants to harm President Trump might find them as an inspiration. It’s inexcusable for an elected official to allow the promotion of violence in any way. If the individual pictured is a staffer or volunteer, they should be terminated immediately.”

People took to Twitter to share their own disapproval of the senator’s actions.

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The images are stirring controversy because of their distasteful nature. It has caused a storm on Twitter with Trump’s top aide Kellyanne Conway weighing in tweeting that “Every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow this.”

People are getting tired of the hateful and dangerous rhetoric from the president and don’t want to see other elected officials following his lead.

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Trump’s rhetoric has been tied to an increase in hate crimes against minorities. Most recently, the same rhetoric used by the White House was included in the manifesto by the El Paso shooter. The shooter went to El Paso with the mission to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

Some are calling out the senator but also the hypocrisy with the right-wing and their treatment of President Obama.

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The years after President Obama was first elected were filled with Conservative and Republican voters and politicians spewing racist and hateful words. The most racist moment was the birther movement questioning Obama’s citizenship, which was led by Trump.

Some think people on the right have forgotten how the right hanged and burned effigies of President Obama.

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No one is condoning the actions of Sen. Sandoval. However, this behavior is like a page out of the Tea Party and the Republican Party playbook. Obama’s election showed the ugly underbelly of the American political system and it seems to be continuing under President Trump.

A couple of Twitter users are asking for their politicians to do better and be better.

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There’s a common saying that says, “Never wrestle with a pig in mud. You’ll both get dirty but the pig will love it.”

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