Republicans Blunt, Moran reject Trump’s border wall emergency declaration

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) Images courtesy of Getty Images

WASHINGTON —Jerry Moran and Roy Blunt were among a handful of GOP Senators that voted for a resolution to override President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to build a wall along the southern border on Thursday.

The vote sets up a veto fight and dealing Trump a conspicuous rebuke as he tested how boldly he could ignore Congress in pursuit of his highest-profile goal.

The Senate voted 59-41 to cancel Trump’s February proclamation of a border emergency, which he invoked to spend $3.6 billion more for border barriers than Congress had approved.

Twelve Republicans joined Democrats in defying Trump in a showdown many GOP senators had hoped to avoid because he commands die-hard loyalty from millions of conservative voters who could punish defecting lawmakers in next year’s elections.

With the Democratic-controlled House’s approval of the same resolution last month, Senate passage sends it to Trump. He has shown no reluctance to casting his first veto to advance his campaign exhortation to “Build the Wall,” and it seems certain Congress will lack the two-thirds majorities that would be needed to override him.

“I’ll do a veto. It’s not going to be overturned,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “It’s a border security vote.”

Though Trump seems sure to prevail in a veto battle, it remains noteworthy that lawmakers of both parties resisted him in a fight directly tied to his cherished campaign theme of erecting a border wall. The roll call came just a day after the Senate took a step toward a veto fight with Trump on another issue, voting to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition’s war in Yemen.

In a measure of how remarkable the confrontation was, Thursday was the first time Congress has voted to block a presidential emergency since the National Emergency Act became law in 1976.

In explaining his vote, Moran tweeted that he supports securing the nation’s borders, but that he is concerned that Trump’s emergency declaration may not be constitutional.

Blunt echoed support for securing the border, but had similar concerns about expanding Presidential powers.

“Democrats have already made clear that they believe they could use this same authority to impose policies like gun control or the Green New Deal. Those decisions should not be made without congressional action. I was aggressively opposed to the Obama administration’s attempts to circumvent Congress’s appropriating authority to prop up Obamacare. The same principle should apply regardless of which party occupies the White House,” Blunt said in a statement.

Senators Josh Hawley and Pat Roberts voted against the measure.

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