CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to nullify President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration on border security, with Trump saying he will veto the measure.
The chamber voted 59-41 in rebuke of Trump’s action last month, which diverted billions of dollars for building 234 miles of barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border. All Democrats and 12 Republicans moved to reject the declaration.
The House of Representatives voted 245-182 last month to revoke the action.
Trump, who said Thursday he will veto the bill, signed the declaration on Feb. 15 to secure billions of dollars for his long-standing campaign promise, including $3.6 billion from military construction. The president approved the declaration the same day he signed the congressional funding bill, which dedicated less than $1.4 billion for the wall.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he supports border security efforts including building a wall, but Congress should appropriate the funding.
“Regardless of who the President is, Congress has an obligation to defend the Constitution. That is why I oppose the President’s decision to unilaterally declare a national emergency,” he said. “I fought President Obama’s executive overreach when he was in office, and I will do the same today with President Trump because I believe in the Constitution of the United States with all of my heart.”
Manchin cited late Sen. Robert Byrd, who was a staunch supporter of the legislative branch’s constitutional power to control appropriations.
During the 35-day partial government shutdown, Manchin threw his support behind Trump using a declaration to secure funding for a wall. He later said in light of last month’s funding bill such action was not necessary.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., voted with a majority of Republican senators in opposition to the resolution, noting in a statement her work on the conference committee responsible for negotiating a border security agreement earlier this year.
“A few weeks ago, we came to a bipartisan funding agreement that made a significant down payment on the president’s border security goals, but it’s become clear that more needs to be done,” she said. “That’s why I support the president’s decision to declare a national emergency at our southern border and why I voted to uphold that decision today.”
Capito added the president has the power to make such declarations.
“This vote was about whether or not we agree that there is a crisis at the southern border and whether or not we believe the president should have the tools to fix it,” the senator said. “I, for one, support the president in his efforts to strengthen our border security and address the situation at the border, and I was proud to vote to uphold his emergency declaration.”
Twelve Republican senators voted against the resolution, including Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, Missouri’s Roy Blunt, Maine’s Susan Collins, Utah’s Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, Kansas’ Jerry Moran, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Ohio’s Rob Portman, Florida’s Marco Rubio, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and Mississippi’s Roger Wicker. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate.
Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina voted against the resolution after previously voicing his opposition to the national emergency declaration. He, as well as Collins, will be up for re-election next year.
Lee proposed legislation requiring Congress to extend a national emergency declaration every 30 days, yet he came out in support of the resolution after talks fell apart Wednesday.
“It shouldn’t be so unusual for members of the president’s own party to stand with us and hold him to account when he does wrong, especially a president who is so overreaches, but I’m thankful Republican senators did the right thing,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said a press conference.
Trump sent clear messages on how he plans to respond to the resolution, first with a “VETO!” tweet shortly after the vote.
“I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country,” the president later tweeted. “I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!”
After the expected veto, two-thirds of both congressional chambers will have to approve the resolution for it to become law. Neither chamber has enough votes to override Trump’s decision.