The Senate passed a resolution to end the state of emergency at the southern border Thursday amid an already contentious political fight on immigration.
President Donald Trump made the emergency declaration on February 15 amid budget talks failing to meet his requests for border wall funding. He reluctantly signed a compromise deal at the same time to avoid a second partial government shutdown as a result of the dispute.
The Senate passed the resolution to block the emergency declaration on a 59 to 41 vote.
The resolution now goes to the president — where he’s likely to veto it. The House already passed the proposal mostly along party lines on February 26. The resolution blocks the president from diverting emergency funds for the construction of the border wall.
Trump has called for $5.7 billion to fund the project.
“What we are doing here today is no one’s first choice but it’s useful to recall how we find ourselves at this point today,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said from the floor before the vote. “My preference would be for the normal appropriations process to be used. But when your negotiating partners refuse to take a seat at the table, ‘normal’ goes out the window. Our colleagues across the aisle left the president with few options to fund what he believed were so important for the nation’s security, and that’s what led us to this situation.”
Cornyn argued the refusal of congressional Democrats to engage in negotiations on border security funding also led to the government shutdown. He added that the resistance to the wall came despite a clear message from border security experts and clear signs the situation on the southern border is a humanitarian crisis.
“So what the president did is he asked his lawyers to look at what other authority under congressionally passed laws signed by previous presidents might I have to access additional funds,” Cornyn said. “His lawyers pointed to the 1976 National Emergencies Act which have granted presidents since that time broad powers to reprogram funding previously appropriated by Congress. So this idea that somehow this is an unconstitutional act by this president is simply wrong.”
Senate Republicans have a majority — but there were enough defectors to help the measure pass with a total of 12 voting for it. Democrats only needed four lawmakers to cross party lines, since they already overwhelmingly supported …