Senate set to reject Trump national emergency declaration - but not his veto

Mar 05, 2019, 00:58
Senate set to reject Trump national emergency declaration - but not his veto

McConnell, who has worked closely with Trump on the tax system overhaul, the selection of conservative judges and other issues, acknowledged he had counseled the president against making the declaration.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul explained his reasoning for opposing President Donald Trump's use of emergency powers to get more funding for the southern border wall, writing in an op-ed for Fox News on Monday that defending the Constitution means standing on principle and rejecting hypocrisy.

"I can't vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn't been appropriated by Congress", Paul said, according to the newspaper. "If we take away those checks and balances, it's a unsafe thing", Paul suggested, according to the paper. The House passed its version of the resolution last week, largely along party lines, and the Senate must hold a vote within two weeks. Fifty-three senators caucus with Republicans and 47 caucus with Democrats, meaning that four Republican defections would be enough to ensure passage.

During an event in Kentucky over the weekend, Paul explained that he will vote to support a resolution that seeks to overturn Trump's declaration.

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"I think that really it's a very risky thing for people to be voting against border security", Trump said during an interview last week with Sean Hannity of Fox News.

"What is clear in the Senate is there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president", McConnell told reporters in Kentucky.

Paul joins three other Republican senators in supporting the effort to stop the order: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of ME and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

Congress would then need an overwhelming majority - two-thirds of its members - in both chambers to overrule Trump's veto, which is unlikely. The president has already said that if the legislation appears on his desk, he will veto it.

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Trump's demand for $5.7 billion in funding for his "great, great wall" triggered the longest-ever partial US government shutdown in December and January.

Many lawmakers opposed to the emergency declaration say it tramples Congress' constitutional power to control spending.

Trump made the declaration in February to free up billions of dollars in funding for border wall construction, after Congress allocated just a fraction of what he had asked for. The president is invoking other powers to transfer an additional $3.1bn to construction. "I disagree. Not only are the issues similar, but I think Youngstown Steel implications are even more profound in the case of emergency appropriations", Paul wrote.

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