Trump tells GOP to back border emergency, but defeat likely

Four GOP defections would ensure measure goes to White House, where Trump has promised veto

U.S. President Donald Trump has promised to veto a resolution to annul the border emergency he declared last month. (AP)

Republican opposition grew Thursday to U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwest border as the Senate chugged toward a showdown vote that seemed certain to rebuff him despite his last-minute warnings.

GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Mitt Romney of Utah Romney became the sixth and seventh Republicans to say they’d vote Thursday for a resolution to annul the border emergency Trump declared last month.

READ MORE: Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

Just four GOP defections would ensure the measure would be sent to the White House, where Trump has promised a veto. There is no indication that foes of his declaration have the votes to overturn his veto, and Trump said as much at midday.

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

He did not answer when reporters asked if there would be consequences for Republicans who vote against him.

But a White House official said Trump won’t forget when senators want him to attend fundraisers or provide other help. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on internal deliberations.

Trump wants to use his declaration to steer $3.6 billion more than Congress has approved for building border barriers than Congress has approved.

Trump’s rejection of Lee’s proposal left many Republicans boxed in: defy Trump and the conservative voters who back him passionately, or assent to what many lawmakers from both parties consider a dubious and dangerous expansion of presidential authority.

Democrats, set to oppose him, said there was no emergency at the border. They said Trump issued his declaration only because Congress agreed to provide less than $1.4 billion for barriers and he was desperate to fulfil his campaign promise to “Build the Wall.”

“He’s obsessed with showing strength, and he couldn’t just abandon his pursuit of the border wall, so he had to trample on the Constitution to continue his fight,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

On the Senate floor, Alexander — one of the chamber’s more respected lawmakers — said Trump’s emergency action was “inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I took an oath to support,” citing the power Congress has to control spending. Romney, his party’s 2012 presidential nominee, used a written statement to called Trump’s declaration “an invitation to further expansion and abuse by future presidents.”

The defections by the two high-profile lawmakers added weight to the growing list of GOP opponents to his border emergency, and left little doubt that the Republican-run Senate would snub Trump. The challenge in a battle related to his signature issue — building barriers along the Mexican border — is striking.

Thursday’s vote would be the first time Congress has rejected a presidential emergency under the 1976 National Emergency Act. While presidents have declared 58 emergencies under the statute, this is the first aimed at acquiring money for an item Congress has explicitly refused to finance, according to Elizabeth Goitein, co-director for national security at New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice.

On Twitter, Trump called on Republicans to oppose the resolution, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., helped drive through the House last month.

“Today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!” he tweeted, invoking the name of a Democrat who boatloads of GOP ads have villainized in recent campaign cycles.

Republicans had hoped that if Trump would endorse a separate bill by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, constraining emergency declarations in the future, it would win over enough GOP senators to reject the resolution blocking his border emergency.

But Trump told Lee on Wednesday that he opposed Lee’s legislation, prompting Lee himself to say he would back the resolution thwarting the border emergency in Thursday’s vote. Trump tweeted Thursday if Congress wants to amend the law governing emergency declarations in the future, “I will support those efforts.”

Other GOP senators who’ve said they’d vote to overturn Trump’s border emergency were Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Tillis, though, has wavered in recent days. He and Collins face potentially competitive re-election fights in 2020.

Republicans control the Senate 53-47.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Coastline serves up a feast of fiddlers in Oak Bay

Local Juno Award winner musical director for ensemble

Police stay quiet on downtown fire investigation

The fire at Victoria’s Plaza Hotel was deemed suspicious on May 14

Langford trucks vandalized for third time in five months

Staff member spends weekend washing after six trucks hit with graffiti

Former Saanich councillor joins Cordova Bay community association board

Leif Wergeland served on Saanich council for 22 years before retiring from politics in 2018

Police arrest jewelry thieves in same building they allegedly stole from

More than $6,000 worth of jewelry was recovered

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

B.C. firefighters rescue frozen dog from ice

The fire crew found a dog stuck in the at Lake Paul on May 20

Most British Columbians agree the ‘big one’ is coming, but only 50% are prepared

Only 46 per cent of British Columbians have prepared an emergency kit with supplies they might need

B.C. man to pay Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party $20k over lawsuit

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

RCMP searching for missing Vancouver Island teenager

16-year-old Lasheena Seward was reported missing from a group home in Port Alberni

Sitting and sleeping on downtown sidewalks could net $100 fine in Penticton

The measure, which still requires final approval, would be enforced between May and Sept. 30

Most Read