After several unsuccessful efforts to convince Congress to appropriate adequate funding for the construction of a new wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, President Donald Trump was left little option but to declare a national emergency in February and use congressionally-delegated powers to shift around previously appropriated Defense funds to get his wall built.
Of course, Democrats in Congress cried foul over the move, and now, they’re doing something about it — well, sort of. Joined by nearly a dozen Republicans, Senate Democrats voted on Wednesday to cancel Trump’s emergency declaration and prevent the wall from being built, according to Breitbart.
The resolution, which was co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Susan Collins (ME), passed by a vote of 54–41.
But it’s unlikely that the vote will actually have any effect. Trump can simply veto the measure, like he has once before.
Stabbed in the back
While most of the Republicans who voted alongside Democrats to block the president’s lawful action are considered moderates who have long stood against Trump, others cited the appropriations process and separation of powers as reasons to — attempt to — block his national emergency.
Among those who voted against Trump are Sens. Collins, Lamar Alexander (TN), Roy Blunt (MO), Mike Lee (UT), Jerry Moran (KS), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rand Paul (KY), Rob Portman (OH), Mitt Romney (UT), Pat Toomey (PA), and Roger Wicker (MS).
Speaking in support of the resolution, Collins argued that the Constitution empowers Congress alone to direct where taxpayer money should be spent, and thus, President Trump had violated the sacred separation of powers by deciding for himself where funds should be directed.
But what Collins and many others in the Senate seem to have forgotten — or purposefully overlooked — is that Congress long ago passed the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which delegated a host of powers to the president in the event of a declared emergency — including the power to shift previously appropriated funds around to meet certain needs.
Few friends in D.C. swamp
With this move, it has been made clear that President Trump has few friends in Washington — even within his own Republican Party.
Still, the fact that nearly a dozen GOP senators turned in opposition to Trump’s efforts to adequately secure the southern border — after they themselves failed to do so — shouldn’t really come as a big surprise.
What will be surprising is if none of those Republicans who stood against the president are voted out of office by their own constituents for failing to do their sole job: protecting the interests of the American people.
Unfortunately, these legislators are too busy thinking about themselves to put their constituents first.
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