March 15, 2019

Senate Votes on National Emergency

On Thursday, the Senate voted “59-41 to terminate the president’s emergency declaration on what Trump describes as a national security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, but the final tally fell short of the required 2/3 needed to override a veto.” Twelve Republicans voted with Democrats in favor of termination. Axios

This is separate from the ongoing lawsuit filed by several states against the declaration. AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left is accusing Republican senators of hypocrisy for siding with Trump’s power grab.

“Hypocrisy is a term often bandied about too easily. But it was crystallized in a single moment Thursday, when 41 Republican senators voted to surrender their legislative authority to an overreaching president… [The Republican senators] who voted to safeguard Trump's power grab [will not] have any credibility to complain when a future Democratic president invokes emergency powers on, say, gun violence or climate change.”
Editorial Board, USA Today

“The issue here isn’t whether there are big problems at the border. The issue is that Congress considered them and decided not to address them the way Trump wanted, so he used emergency powers to reverse that decision. That’s the precedent being set here, and it’s one Congress ignores at its peril.”
Jon Healey, Los Angeles Times

“A growing number of Senate Republicans, Trump’s biggest check against congressional Democrats, have grown uneasy with the president’s executive actions both in diplomacy and in domestic politics…

“[But] nationally, 90 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s job performance, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. And the president made clear that votes against him were an act of betrayal… There’s no way to win reelection if you don’t first win the GOP primary, so even Republicans who could face difficult general elections lined up behind Trump rather than risk his wrath.”
Paul Kane, Washington Post

“Senators from purple states stuck with Trump as colleagues with an easier path to re-election voted against him. That’s kind of strange… Usually it would be the vulnerable politicians who act as moderates, and those with safe seats who are comfortable with ideological extremism… Whether their political calculation is correct or not, Republican politicians have decided that the threats that matter are the ones coming from the Trumpier portions of their own party.”
Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg

And yet “this week has provided welcome flashes of independence from at least a few Republican lawmakers… the Senate Republicans’ rebuke of the president shows that his chronic contempt for democratic norms — and for the Constitution — has become too much to stomach for at least some in his party.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

Some posit that “the real crisis at the border [is] that asylum seekers and other immigrants who follow U.S. laws are being wrongly persecuted

“The Trump administration’s policy of ‘metering’ asylum applications at the border — only letting in only a small number of migrants in each day — has created confusion and months-long waiting periods at ports of entry, despite the fact that denying individuals the right to apply for asylum is a violation of international human rights law. The extensive backup at ports of entry has caused desperate Central American families to cross between ports of entry instead, which has contributed to the spike in ‘illegal’ border crossings.”
Rebekah Entralgo, ThinkProgress

From the Right

The right is generally supportive of terminating the declaration, arguing that it was a usurpation of Congress’s authority over spending.

From the Right

The right is generally supportive of terminating the declaration, arguing that it was a usurpation of Congress’s authority over spending.

“The problem with the emergency declaration is that, even if it’s technically legal… it is clearly pretextual and a way to do an end run around the congressional spending power. The president himself in his press conference announcing the emergency said that he didn’t have to do it, but that he wanted to build new fencing more quickly than he could without the declaration.”
The Editors, National Review

“The border certainly needs better enforcement. It could use more wall. But it's up to Congress, not the president, to appropriate money for the wall… The Left loves to declare that conservative talk of principles is a con and a cover story for self-serving ends. Votes like this lend credence to the charge. We applaud the dozen Republicans who voted for the resolution. We hope Congress’ next step is to pass a bipartisan bill curbing presidential emergency powers.”
Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

“The President has set terrible precedent with his emergency declaration. He negotiated with Congress, got nothing, so decided to go this route. To allow a president to exercise this power after failing in negotiations just sets a precedent for future Democrat presidents to do the same… if this President can declare an emergency for this border dispute, a future president could do the same for climate change.”
Erick Erickson, The Resurgent

Many are asking, “Where were Mr. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when President Obama violated the separation of powers again and again to achieve his policy goals? Senate Democrats gave Mr. Obama a blank check on recess appointments, environmental and financial regulation, ObamaCare spending without appropriations, work permits for illegal immigrants, and much more. The courts later rebuked Mr. Obama on all of them. The GOP opposition is more sincere and significant because it comes at some political cost… [But] Mr. Trump should be careful not to test the limits of GOP Senate loyalty.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

Politicians face a difficult decision when a president abuses his powers to achieve something their party wants to achieve. Under Obama that was [DACA] for illegal immigrants; under Trump it’s an emergency declaration to build the wall. Democrats were pretty much silent about Obama’s abuses… Only four (out of 186 voting) [in the House] supported killing it via legislation, and the Democratic Senate did not even vote on the bill. By contrast, 13 out of 195 voting Republicans in the House sided against the emergency declaration, and an impressive twelve of 53 Republican senators voted that way as well.”
Robert Verbruggen, National Review

Supporters of the President argue that “I'm sympathetic to arguments that the National Emergencies Act is too broad and gives the executive branch too much power. That's a reasonable debate to have… But in the meantime, don't pretend we didn't delegate all these powers, or that it's lawless for the executive to use laws we passed, just because you deplore him.”
Tom Cotton, Senate.gov

On the bright side...

Painting sow Pigcasso hogs the limelight at South Africa farm.
Reuters

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