At­tempt to smooth wall-cash fight fails

Se­na­tor to back re­buke of Trump


WASH­ING­TON — The Se­nate is poised to re­buke Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump over his na­tional emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion at the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der after Trump shot down a com­pro­mise bro­kered by GOP se­na­tors.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who was lead­ing the com­pro­mise ef­forts, an­nounced plans to vote for leg­is­la­tion to nul­lify Trump’s emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion when a dis­ap­proval res­o­lu­tion goes to the floor to­day. Lee made the an­nounce­ment shortly after hear­ing di­rectly from Trump on Wed­nes­day that his com­pro­mise — which would have cur­tailed pres­i­den­tial emer­gency pow­ers go­ing for­ward — was not ac­cept­able.

“For decades, Congress has been giv­ing far too much leg­isla­tive power to the ex­ec­u­tive branch. While there was at­ten­tion on the is­sue I had hoped the AR­TI­CLE ONE Act could be­gin to take that power back,” Lee said in a state­ment. “Un­for­tu­nately, it ap­pears the bill does not have an im­me­di­ate path for­ward, so I will be vot­ing to ter­mi­nate the lat­est emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion.”

Lee’s an­nounce­ment likely means ma­jor­ity

sup­port for the dis­ap­proval res­o­lu­tion, which al­ready was ap­proved in the House. Se­nate pas­sage would send the mea­sure to Trump, likely lead­ing him to is­sue the first veto of his ad­min­is­tra­tion to strike it down.

If Trump’s bor­der emer­gency stands, he could di­vert $3.6 bil­lion from mil­i­tary con­struc­tion projects to build bor­der bar­ri­ers, even though Congress had voted to limit him to less than $1.4 bil­lion for such con­struc­tion.

But ap­proval of the res­o­lu­tion would high­light a clash in which Trump was be­ing forced to pro­tect a cam­paign prom­ise by ve­to­ing leg­is­la­tion sent to him by a Re­pub­li­can-led Se­nate. Congress has never be­fore voted to over­turn a pres­i­dent’s emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion.

Un­der a 1976 law, pres­i­dents have wide dis­cre­tion in de­ter­min­ing when a na­tional emer­gency has oc­curred. Congress can vote to block an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion, but the two-thirds ma­jori­ties re­quired to over­come pres­i­den­tial ve­toes make it hard for law­mak­ers to pre­vail.

Lee’s ef­fort to craft leg­is­la­tion lim­it­ing the scope of pres­i­den­tial emer­gency pow­ers go­ing for­ward was seen as a way to limit GOP de­fec­tions on the sep­a­rate dis­ap­proval res­o­lu­tion vote. Trump called Lee to ex­press his op­po­si­tion as Lee lunched with fel­low Re­pub­li­can se­na­tors at the Capi­tol, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with the call who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity to de­scribe it. Lee then re­layed the in­for­ma­tion to his col­leagues.

Four GOP se­na­tors had al­ready an­nounced plans to vote for the dis­ap­proval res­o­lu­tion, giv­ing it the ma­jor­ity sup­port

needed to pass. But one of those se­na­tors — Thom Til­lis, R-N.C. — had in­di­cated that his vote could be in play, de­pend­ing on the out­come of the Lee leg­is­la­tion. That raised the pos­si­bil­ity that GOP se­na­tors could limit de­fec­tions enough to keep the dis­ap­proval res­o­lu­tion from pass­ing.

That out­come is now likely out of reach.

“There was an ef­fort, nu­mer­ous ef­forts, to en­gage with the vice pres­i­dent and the pres­i­dent,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. But “the pres­i­dent is not per­suaded.”

“I don’t know of any pres­i­dent that likes to give up power,” Cornyn said.

Trump has been warn­ing GOP se­na­tors against cross­ing him on a vote that he has cast as a ques­tion of bor­der se­cu­rity — not a con­sti­tu­tional is­sue of sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers, as some GOP se­na­tors see it.

Speak­ing Wed­nes­day at the White House, Trump said it would be “a bad thing” to vote against the dec­la­ra­tion.

“We’ll see whether or not I have to do the veto,” Trump said.

“It will be, I think, all very suc­cess­ful, re­gard­less of how it all works out,” Trump said of his bor­der ef­fort. “A lot of money’s be­ing spent right now. We have ac­cess to a lot of money, and more money is com­ing in, and peo­ple are start­ing to see it.”

Trump also ex­pressed his frus­tra­tion with the GOP in a tweet Wed­nes­day.

“Re­pub­li­can Se­na­tors are over­think­ing to­mor­row’s vote on Na­tional Emer­gency. It 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!” Trump tweeted.

Ear­lier Wed­nes­day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that her cham­ber would not con­sider the Lee leg­is­la­tion to rein in pres­i­den­tial pow­ers, char­ac­ter­iz­ing it as an at­tempt to give Trump “a pass” on vi­o­lat­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“Re­pub­li­can Se­na­tors are propos­ing new leg­is­la­tion to al­low the Pres­i­dent to vi­o­late the Con­sti­tu­tion just this once in or­der to give them­selves cover,” Pelosi said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day. “The House will not take up this leg­is­la­tion to give Pres­i­dent Trump a pass.”

Many Se­nate Repub­li­cans had started to align be­hind Lee’s mea­sure, which would

amend the Na­tional Emer­gen­cies Act to say an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion would au­to­mat­i­cally ex­pire after 30 days un­less both cham­bers of Congress af­fir­ma­tively vote to keep it.

If passed into law, Lee’s bill could af­fect Trump’s bor­der-emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion, since on­go­ing na­tional emer­gency dec­la­ra­tions must be reaf­firmed an­nu­ally.

In re­marks on the Se­nate floor Wed­nes­day, Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called the mea­sure crafted by Lee a “fig leaf.”

“Our Re­pub­li­can friends are say­ing with this fig leaf, ‘Grant me the courage to stand up to Pres­i­dent Trump,

but not yet,’ ” Schumer said. “And next time and next time and next time, they’ll say the same thing. So let’s do the right thing. Let’s tell the pres­i­dent he can­not use his over­reach­ing power to de­clare an emer­gency when he couldn’t get Congress to do what he wanted.”

The other GOP se­na­tors who plan to sup­port the dis­ap­proval res­o­lu­tion are Su­san Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rand Paul of Ken­tucky.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.