Democrats to Force Vote Against Border Wall Funding

Construction crews replace a section of the primary wall separating San Diego, above right, and Tijuana, Mexico, below left, on March 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Senate Democrats will force a vote to terminate the national emergency President Donald Trump declared in February that allowed him to move money from other federal accounts into the fund for his long-promised border wall, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.

“The president’s national emergency was and is an outrageous power grab by a president who refuses to respect the constitutional separation of powers,” Schumer said in a floor speech Tuesday morning.

Trump declared the emergency in February, after agreeing to sign a spending bill to avoid a second government shutdown in as many months. The spending bill gave Trump $1.375 billion for limited barriers along the southern border, but he added $3.6 billion to the project through the emergency declaration.

The timing of the Senate vote is not yet clear, but the resolution must be voted on under the National Emergency Act, under which Trump declared the emergency.

Both the House and Senate voted earlier this year to terminate the emergency declaration, but Trump vetoed the resolution as expected and neither chamber could muster the votes to override the veto.

The Senate vote, which took place in March, was 59-41, with 12 Republicans bucking Trump and voting to terminate the emergency declaration. Eight more Republicans would need to defect in order for the Senate to override another Trump veto, giving the Democrats’ effort long odds at actually ending the emergency declaration.

Still, Schumer urged his colleagues to support the resolution, calling Trump’s emergency a circumvention of congressional power the Senate should not allow to stand.

“We all must consider the dangerous precedent that would set if presidents may declare national emergencies every time their initiatives fail in Congress,” Schumer said.

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