The Jury Talks Back

3/14/2019

President Trump’s Declaration Of National Emergency At Border Is Overturned By Senate Vote

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 2:51 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Here we go:

The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, with 12 Republicans joining all Democrats to deliver a bipartisan rebuke to the president.

The disapproval resolution passed the House last month, so the 59-41 Senate vote will send the measure to Trump’s desk. Trump has promised to use the first veto of his presidency to strike it down, and Congress does not have the votes to override the veto.

“VETO!” Trump tweeted moments after the vote.

For weeks Trump had sought to frame the debate in terms of immigration, arguing that Republican senators who supported border security should back him up on the emergency declaration. But for many GOP lawmakers, it was about a bigger issue: The Constitution itself, which grants Congress — not the president — control over government spending.

By declaring a national emergency in order to bypass Congress to get money for his wall, Trump was violating the separation of powers and setting a potentially dangerous precedent, these senators argued.

Republicans who voted with Trump and against the disapproval resolution said the president was acting within his authority under the National Emergencies Act, and taking necessary steps to address a humanitarian and drug crisis at the border that Democrats had ignored.

The 12 Republicans who voted to terminate the national emergency declaration:

Sen. Roger Wicker (Mississippi)
Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida)
Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio)
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Sen. Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)
Sen. Roy Blunt (Missouri)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee)
Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah)
Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky)
Sen. Jerry Moran (Kansas)
Sen. Mike Lee (Utah)

After a failed attempt at finding a compromise with the president, Sens. Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse voted against the disapproval resolution.

Here are their reasons for voting as they did (excluding Sen. Graham because his vote was unsurprising):

From Ted Cruz:

“This was a difficult vote. I understand my colleagues’ real concerns regarding the vast emergency powers that Congress has given the President over the last half-century … We cannot end this emergency without securing our southern border, and we cannot secure our border without building the wall.”

From Ben Sasse:

“We have an obvious crisis at the border everyone who takes an honest look at the spiking drug and human trafficking numbers knows this and the President has a legal path to a rapid response under the National Emergencies Act of 1976 (NEA). 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. As a constitutional conservative, I believe that the NEA currently on the books should be narrowed considerably. That’s why I’m an original sponsor of Senator Lee’s legislation, and it is why I have repeatedly gone to the White House to seek support for NEA reform.”

Not so fast, Phillip Klein argues (re Sasse):

“This is a cop-out. Nothing in the world would prevent Sasse from both voting to disapprove of this specific invocation of emergency powers while also advocating for broader reforms. He is setting up a classic false choice. Sasse has in the past lamented the tendency of people to put their preferred outcomes over respecting process and institutional checks on power, and yet here he is, embracing a move because of the policy outcome.”

Allapundit’s take on reasons why Cruz and Sasse voted against the disapproval resolution:

He still dreams of being president and knows that 2024 rivals like Tom Cotton would have used this vote against him to get to his right with populists. He put Ted Cruz’s political interests above everything, including what he professes to believe. As usual.

The truth about Sasse, the only possible explanation, is that he’s decided to run for reelection in Nebraska and calculated that he wouldn’t be able to survive a primary challenge if he opposed Trump on this. There’s too much heat. Maybe he can survive one if he quiets down with the Trump criticism over the next 12 months and votes Trump’s way. Forced to choose between his brand as a constitutional conservative who wants to restore separation of powers and his job, Sasse made his choice.

Yes:

On the one hand, Congress laudably stood up for its constitutional prerogatives as the country’s lawmaking body, rebuking the president for his executive power-grab and forcing him to issue his first veto. On the other hand, Senate Republicans—including some who have talked a lot about opposing Trump’s erratic actions—overwhelmingly rolled over and voted to let Trump’s emergency go through.

In a funny way, even though the vote was largely symbolic, it turned out to be revealing…

–Dana

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