US Senate Passes Democrat Motion to End Border Wall National Emergency
The U.S. Senate voted on Sept. 25 to pass a Democrat-sponsored bill to block President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration over the southern border for a second time. However, the chamber failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority needed to overcome the president’s veto power.
The Senate voted 54-41 to end the emergency declaration, and 11 Republicans joined Democrats. In March, the Senate made a similar attempt but also failed to reach the two-thirds majority, prompting Trump to veto the bill.
Republican Senators Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Susan Collins (Maine), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Pat Toomey (Pa.), and Roger Wicker (Miss.) voted to end the declaration.
“This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), according to the Washington Times. “This is about checks and balances, not about Republicans and Democrats, and the need for the Senate to rein in an out-of-control executive.”
Trump declared the emergency for the U.S.-Mexico border so he could use the $7 billion from other projects to fund the wall.
Sen. Collins, a Republican who is up for reelection in 2020, said she backed border wall money in the past. However, she voted Wednesday to end Trump’s emergency declaration to make a statement about checks and balances on the federal government.
“I cannot support the president unilaterally deciding to take money that has been appropriated for one purpose and diverting those billions of dollars for another purpose, no matter how important or worthy that goal may be,” she said, according to the Washington Times.
According to The Hill, the Democratic senators can force the vote on the emergency funding every six months.
“It’s a vote the Democrats can insist on. I’m pretty sure there’s no Republican insisting on taking that vote again,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), according to the report.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky voted against the bill on Wednesday and criticized Democrats for holding a vote even though they knew the outcome.
“Still unwilling to work with the president and Republicans on a long-term bipartisan solution for border security, Senate Democrats are making us repeat the same show vote again. I would urge my colleagues to vote for border security and vote against Democrats’ resolution,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Department of Defense said the U.S-Mexico border wall is going up at a pace of about 1 mile per day.
Jonathan Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters about the progress during a Sept. 19 press briefing, adding that by the end of next year, the goal is to have completed 450 miles.
“Right now we’re at a pace of about a mile a day. And we’ll see that continue to go up,” Hoffman said. “It’s going to be a few months but our goal is that by the end of next year, we will have completed over 100—450 miles of wall construction all told across the entire federal government,” he added.