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GOP-controlled Senate rebukes Trump with vote to rescind his border emergency declaration

Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans on Thursday joined Democrats to vote against President Donald Trump's border emergency declaration, a stinging rebuke of the White House's decision to circumvent Congress to deliver on the president's campaign pledge to build a wall.

Twelve Republicans defected to vote with all Democrats in support of a resolution to terminate the president's declaration.

Hours before the vote, Trump repeated his threat to issue a veto, the first of his administration. He called illegal immigration a threat to national security and a humanitarian crisis.

The vote fell well short of the 67 votes that would be needed to override the president's veto.

The rebuke came after a lengthy effort by Senate Republicans to convince the White House to withdraw the resolution and turn to other means to construct the border wall. But in recent days, Republican senators began to peel away, suggesting the resolution would pass.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., publicly urged the administration to look elsewhere for border money, warning that the resolution is "a dangerous precedent" that future Democratic presidents will use to enact other priorities, like gun control and climate change.

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Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, tried to broker a compromise with a resolution to limit the president's power to enact emergency declarations. The White House rejected both ideas.

Both men voted with Democrats to rescind the president's declaration.

Lawmakers in both parties viewed the emergency declaration as an end-run around Congress' constitutional authority to determine how the federal government spends money. Just months ago, Congress voted to fund the government without money for the border wall.

"This is a vote for the Constitution and for the balance of powers that is at its core," said Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, one of the Republicans who voted against the president. "For the executive branch to override a law passed by Congress would make it the ultimate power rather than a balancing power."

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