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News > U.S.

US Congress on Verge of Rejecting Trump's Border Emergency

  • U.S. President Donald Trump attends the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual meeting at National Harbor near Washington, U.S., Mar. 2, 2019.

    U.S. President Donald Trump attends the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual meeting at National Harbor near Washington, U.S., Mar. 2, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 March 2019

Though the U.S. Senate is controlled by a Republican majority, at least 10 senators are prepared to vote against Trump.

The United States Senate, though Republican-controlled, is expected to reject President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency on the Mexican border, the most senior Republican in the U.S. upper chamber said.

US Lawmakers to End Trump's Emergency for 'Racist' Border Wall

The resolution to terminate the president’s state-of-emergency declaration has enough support in the Senate to be passed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday. However, McConnell predicted that Trump would veto the resolution anyway, which would send the resolution back to the House.

McConnell was speaking Monday in Kentucky after fellow Republican Senator Rand Paul said he would vote to reject the emergency.

"What is clear in the Senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the House," McConnell said.

The House of Representatives has already approved the resolution with 245 votes in favor with the backing of 13 Republicans, though still below a two-thirds majority needed to override a likely veto from President Trump.

That would mean the emergency declaration would remain in effect. The declaration has been an effort to circumvent Congress to get funding for a proposed border wall. If so, a legal battle could be expected between the White House and those in opposition.

An internal debate over the issue will continue in the Senate Tuesday, with a vote expected before the end of next week. A vote by the Republican-controlled Senate to block Trump's declaration would be a huge embarrassment for the sitting president.

In over two years in office, he has failed to persuade Congress to fund his wall, even when both chambers were formerly controlled by his fellow Republicans.The House flipped to a Democrat-majority after the 2018 midterm elections with notable progressives like Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez disrupting the status quo.

Trump declared a national emergency Feb. 15 after he failed to win over Congress to give him US$5.7 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, where a wall already exists in most areas, and where one doesn’t harsh terrain serves as a life-threatening barrier.

Trump says the wall is needed to curb illegal immigration and crime; Democrats say it would be too costly and ineffective. Emergency powers would allow the president to divert money from other accounts already approved by Congress toward the wall, he said.

Democrats protest that the president's emergency intrudes on the constitutional power of Congress over government spending. The Democratic-majority House voted last week to revoke Trump's declaration, which sent the matter along to the Senate.

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