Senate rebukes Trump over wall but he vows veto
The U.S. Senate passed a proposal on Thursday to terminate President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the southern border, with 12 Republicans defying the president, and Trump vowing a veto, ONAreports citing Reuters.
The 59-41 vote marks the second Senate rebuke of Trump in two days. Senators on Wednesday approved a resolution seeking to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the war in Yemen, rejecting Trump’s policy toward the kingdom.
During the first two years of his term, the Republican-led Congress mostly accommodated Trump, who has not yet used his veto pen.
With the emergency declaration, Trump was seeking an alternative way to get billions of dollars for the wall after Congress declined to give him funding.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had urged his fellow Republicans to defeat the measure, which was passed in February by Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
Trump had tweeted on Thursday that a vote for the resolution by Republican senators would be vote for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as “Crime and the Open Border Democrats!”
Republicans who defected by supporting the measure to end the emergency declaration are worried that presidents - including future Democratic ones - could usurp the power of Congress to fund the government and use the tactic to pass their own pet programs.
McConnell, however, said Trump was “operating within existing law” and that if senators did not like the powers provided to the president under the National Emergencies Act, “then they should amend it.”
The measure is unlikely to become law since a two-thirds vote of Congress is needed to override the presidential veto that Trump has vowed to issue. The dispute could ultimately be decided by the courts.
At stake are billions of dollars in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Trump is demanding but Congress has refused to fully provide. The stalemate led to a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended in January.
Trump made the wall a keystone of his 2016 presidential campaign and said Mexico would pay for it.
Under the emergency declaration Trump signed on Feb. 15, he would take money from other federal programs to build the barrier, which he says is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
Even with a veto threat looming, senators and legal experts said Congress was sending an important message that could be cited by judges in several lawsuits that have been filed challenging Trump’s emergency declaration.
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