Peters, Stabenow vote to reject Trump’s border emergency

U.S. Border Patrol Agents at Border Field State Park in Imperial Beach | Mani Albrecht, U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo, Flickr
Updated, 3:50 p.m., with comments from U.S. Sen. Gary Peters.

WASHINGTON — The Republican-led U.S. Senate today delivered a stinging rebuke to President Trump by voting to approve a resolution to end the national emergency he declared at the southern U.S. border.

Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, May 9, 2011 | Stabenow office photo, Flickr

Both of Michigan’s Democratic senators, U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing and Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township, were part of the majority.

“The President’s decision to bypass the will of Congress is a troubling example of executive overreach that could set a dangerous precedent for future administrations,” Peters said. “Today’s bipartisan vote sends a message to President Trump that Congress will not stand by while he undermines our Constitution’s checks and balances by diverting funds from vital military projects to fulfill a campaign promise that does little to make communities in Michigan and across the country safer.”

The vote was 59-41, with 12 Republicans siding with Democrats to approve the resolution already passed by the Democratic-led U.S. House. The vote marks a symbolic defeat for Trump, who has said he’ll veto the resolution when it heads to his desk.

Trump’s opposition is likely to kill the effort — congressional lawmakers aren’t expected to be able to muster the two-thirds majorities needed to override a White House veto. Trump’s declaration seeks to bypass Congress to obtain funding for a controversial border wall.

Dana Nessel

However, Michigan is one of 16 states challenging the declaration in court. A Michigan House panel, which is controlled by the GOP, last week passed a symbolic resolution condemning Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel for joining the suit.

The 12 Republican U.S. senators who voted against Trump’s maneuver are: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

The fate of the resolution in the Senate has been one of the most closely watched political dramas on Capitol Hill in recent weeks. Republicans have faced steady pressure from Trump to oppose the effort to hamstring his emergency declaration.

Trump took to Twitter today to defend the legality of his declaration.

Donald Trump | Michael Vadon, Creative Commons

“Prominent legal scholars agree that our actions to address the National Emergency at the Southern Border and to protect the American people are both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress,” Trump wrote.

“A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!” he added.

One of the most surprising votes on the Senate floor Thursday came from U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who had previously declared that he’d vote to end the national emergency declaration.

The senator penned an op-ed last month saying he planned to vote against Trump: “As a U.S. senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress.”

He later changed his mind, citing a “crisis” at the border Thursday. He welcomed statements from Trump and from the administration that the White House planned to work with Congress to make changes to the National Emergencies Act.

Robin Bravender
Michigan native Robin Bravender is the DC Bureau Chief for the Newsroom, a consortium of 10 nonprofit news publications, including the Michigan Advance. Previously, Robin was a reporter for Politico, E&E News and Thomson Reuters.

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