Senate Votes Again to Block Trump’s Border ‘Emergency’ Wall Fund

September 26, 2019by Laura Litvan
President Donald Trump tours the border wall prototypes near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego County, Calif., on March 13, 2018. (K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted 54-41 to block Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to divert taxpayer money to build a wall at the southern border — the second vote Democrats forced to spotlight how GOP support for the president’s approach has diverted billions of dollars from military needs.

The move is symbolic because Trump vetoed the same resolution that passed in March, 59-41, with 12 Republicans joining with all 47 Democrats to oppose his declaration. Trump resorted to the extraordinary approach after Congress approved only one-quarter of the $5.7 billion he sought for the wall this fiscal year.

Democrats accuse Trump of misusing funds that Congress appropriated for the Pentagon. The decision to force a second vote came after the Trump administration notified lawmakers of the specific projects that would be affected by redirecting $3.6 billion to the wall.

“Many of my Republican colleagues have military installations, schools, projects in their states that would suffer because of the president’s emergency declaration,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The vote could have some political bite for Republicans up for reelection in 2020 who have military installations in their states, including Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado and John Cornyn of Texas.

Trump announced the emergency in February after a 35-day government shutdown over his demands for border wall funding to help him keep a 2016 campaign promise. Congress agreed to provide only $1.4 billion for 55 miles of new construction, far short of the $5.7 billion the president said he needed.

Senate Democrats generally have little clout to set the chamber’s agenda but were able to force the vote by using a federal law that enables a disapproval vote on any presidential emergency declaration.

———

©2019 Bloomberg News

Visit Bloomberg News at www.bloomberg.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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