Sat, Mar 16, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Senate votes no on border emergency

TRUMP VOWS VETO:US Senator Ben Sasse voted against the call to end Trump’s national emergency declaration, saying that it was a ‘politically motivated resolution’

AFP, WASHINGTON

The US Senate on Thursday voted to terminate US President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency on the border with Mexico.

Trump’s response was: “VETO!” which he tweeted after the emergency, declared as a way to secure alternative funding for improved security on the border with Mexico, was denied.

Opponents had argued the emergency amounted to executive overreach, saying a vote to curtail his authority would preserve the constitutionally mandated separation of powers in Washington.

Half a dozen Republicans had already spoken out publicly against last month’s declaration, but on the morning of the vote, 12 Republicans joined Democrats, with the final tally 59 to 41.

Trump had made clear he planned to use his veto powers to override any congressional block.

“I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country,” he tweeted. “I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!”

Unless there is a substantial weakening of support for Trump among congressional Republicans on the issue, the first veto of his presidency is expected to stand.

The Senate and US House of Representatives would each need a two-thirds majority to override a block by the White House, and both parties say the numbers are not likely there.

“It won’t be overturned and the legal scholars say it’s totally constitutional,” Trump told reporters of his emergency.

US Senator Mitt Romney opposed Trump on the declaration, saying he cast his vote “for the constitution and for the balance of power that is at its core.”

A group of Republicans had sought to limit defections by cutting a deal with the president to rein in emergency declaration powers, but Trump refused.

He set the stage for the showdown by asking Republicans not to rebuke him on the emergency.

“Don’t vote with Pelosi!” he wrote on Twitter early on Thursday, referring to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose Democratic-led chamber had already approved the resolution.

Pelosi, who lunched with Trump and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the US Capitol two hours before the Senate vote, had urged the upper chamber to “reject the president’s unconstitutional measure.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed support for Trump.

“The president is operating within existing law, and the crisis on our border is all too real,” McConnell said, citing rising numbers of border detentions.

Numerous Senate Republicans, including some who sided with Trump on Thursday, have called for a narrowing of parameters of the US National Emergencies Act of 1976, under whose authority Trump and other presidents have acted in declaring their emergencies.

“I think that law is overly broad and I want to fix it, but at present Nancy Pelosi doesn’t, so I am therefore voting against her politically motivated resolution,” US Senator Ben Sasse said.

The White House on Monday laid out a 2020 budget proposal that contains US$8.6 billion in new funding for border security.

Congress recently provided US$1.4 billion for construction of 90km of barriers along the border in Texas.

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