CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Senate is set to vote Thursday on a resolution terminating President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration regarding border security.
The resolution, already passed by the House of Representatives, would nullify the president’s action to secure billions of dollars for physical barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are expected to vote differently on the legislation, with Capito voting against the resolution and Manchin joining his Democratic colleagues and a handful of Republicans in support.
Trump signed last month a funding bill which included appropriations for a quarter of the federal government’s operations and less than $1.4 billion for 55 miles of physical barrier in areas of high priority. On the same day, Trump signed a declaration to get funding for more than 230 miles of additional wall by taking funding from other areas of the federal government including military construction and the Defense Department’s anti-drug initiatives.
Trump recommended $5.7 billion in December for a southern border wall. When a compromise did not happen, the federal government was partially shut down for 35 days. Trump requested $8.6 billion for a wall in his proposed budget.
While both Capito and Manchin backed Trump declaring a national emergency before the funding bill came into fruition, Manchin said after last month’s funding bill came forward such action was not necessary.
“Now that Congress has funded almost $3 billion for border security and technology, I don’t believe a national emergency is necessary,” he told MetroNews, referencing the appropriations measure as a whole.
Capito backed the president, adding the funding agreement “makes a significant down payment” on Trump’s border security goals. A Capito spokesperson confirmed Wednesday she still supports Trump’s declaration.
Both lawmakers voted in favor of February’s funding measure.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence talked about the declaration Wednesday; Trump, speaking at the White House during a briefing on drug trafficking, said he hoped Republicans would defeat the measure.
“This is a vote on border security, and it’s a vote on drugs and trafficking and all of that,” he said. “I think most Republican senators understand that.”
Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon Republicans were “overthinking” Thursday vote.
“t is very simply Border Security/No Crime – Should not be thought of any other way. We have a MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY at our Border and the People of our Country know it very well!” he added.
Pence, who toured the Customs and Border Protection Advanced Training Facility in Harpers Ferry with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, said the situation on the border calls for the declaration.
“A vote against the president’s emergency declaration is a vote against border security. A vote against the president’s emergency declaration is a vote to deny the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border,” Pence told agents.
Five Republican senators have come out in favor of the legislative resolution:
Lee’s decision on Wednesday came after talks of reforming the National Emergencies Act fell apart; a bill Lee sponsored would require Congress to extend a national emergency declaration every 30 days.
“Unfortunately, it appears the bill does not have an immediate path forward, so I will be voting to terminate the latest emergency declaration,” Lee said in a press release. “I hope this legislation will serve as a starting point for future work on this very important issue.”
The House passed the resolution affecting Trump’s declaration in a 245-182 vote; Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller opposed the resolution with a majority of Republicans.
In the event of a likely Trump veto, two-thirds of each congressional chamber would have to vote in favor of the proposed resolution for passage. More than 56 percent of current House members approved the resolution in the Feb. 26 vote.