Washington: Republican rebels backed a measure revoking the president’s emergency declaration, in an embarrassing rebuke for President Donald Trump. The Senate voted Thursday to block the president’s declaration of the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border a national emergency in order to obtain funding for his controversial border wall.
The Senate voted 59 to 41 in favor of blocking Trump’s national emergency declaration, with 12 Republicans joining with all of the Democrats in the chamber to pass the resolution.
Trump appeared resigned to the passage of the resolution in remarks to reporters earlier in the day, pledging to issue the first veto of his presidency.
“I don’t know what the vote will be. It doesn’t matter. I will probably have to veto,” Trump said in remarks from the Oval Office.
Trump argued in a post on Twitter that Republicans that voted for the resolution were siding with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in favor of crime and open borders.
In an apparent attempt to assuage GOP Senators’ concerns about future Democratic presidents declaring national emergencies on other issues, Trump suggested he would be willing to make changes to the law.
“If, at a later date, Congress wants to update the law, I will support those efforts, but today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!” Trump tweeted.
However, many of the Republicans that supported the resolution argued their vote was an effort to defend the U.S. Constitution.
Trump made the national emergency declaration last month in order to bypass Congress, which refused to provide $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The vote in the Senate came after the House previously approved the resolution 245 to 182 in a largely party-line vote.
Lawmakers opposed to the declaration do not have the votes to override Trump’s likely veto, although the move still faces significant legal challenges.
The House’s 245-182 vote last month for the resolution, H.J.Res. 46, was short of the two-thirds margin needed to override an expected veto, so Trump’s threat to kill the measure should be sustained.
Still, Trump faces court fights including a lawsuit filed in February by more than a dozen states — including California, Nevada, Maryland and Illinois — that contend the emergency declaration to unlock more money for the wall violates the Constitution. The votes by the House and Senate to reject Trump’s declaration may be helpful to those fighting in court to overturn it.
A coalition of 16 states is suing the Trump administration alleging that the emergency declaration and diversion of funds are unconstitutional and otherwise unlawful.
The resolution is the second Senate rebuke of the Trump administration this week. On Wednesday, senators approved a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which is another rejection of Trump administration policy.
The rebukes are a reflection of the new divided government in Washington, with House Democrats planning on a more confrontational approach to a president than congressional Republicans, who worked hard to accommodate the president’s agenda during his first two years in office.