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US Senate Rejects Trump’s Emergency Order, Veto Expected

FILE - A Border Patrol agent walks towards prototypes for a border wall in San Diego, California, Feb. 5, 2019.
Senate Rejects Trump’s Emergency Order, Veto Expected
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Twelve Republican senators on Thursday joined Democrats to vote against American President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency.

The vote for the resolution to end the border emergency passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last month.

The 59-41 Senate vote, however, is short of the two-thirds majority that will be needed to overturn Trump’s veto.

Minutes after the Senate vote, Trump wrote on Twitter, “VETO!”

The 1976 National Emergencies Act gives presidents special powers to declare an emergency during a crisis. Congress can end a state of emergency with a joint resolution. If the president vetoes the resolution, Congress would need two-thirds of lawmakers to vote to end the declaration.

Thursday’s vote marked the first time that Congress has rejected a presidential emergency under the act.

The vote was also one of the few times that the Republican-controlled Senate has voted against Trump’s position. But it is the second time this week; on Wednesday, the Senate voted to end U.S. support of the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen.

Trump declared a national emergency last month to get the money needed to build a wall along the nation’s border with Mexico. Trump had demanded $5.7 billion to build the wall. But Congress, which is powered with making spending decisions, only provided $1.4 billion for barriers.

Senate Votes to Block Trump's Border Wall National Emergency
Senate Votes to Block Trump's Border Wall National Emergency

Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rand Paul of Kentucky had already announced their opposition to Trump’s emergency declaration. On Thursday, Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Mitt Romney of Utah joined them.

Senator Alexander said Trump’s action was “inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I took an oath to support.” He added that Congress has the power to control spending.

Senator Romney was the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee. He said in a statement that Trump’s declaration is “an invitation to further expansion and abuse by future presidents.”

Democrats have long said there is no emergency at the border. They say Trump issued his declaration only to secure his campaign promise to “Build the Wall.”

After the president’s veto, the strongest chance of blocking Trump’s emergency order is likely to be through legal action taken by Democratic state attorneys general, environmental groups and others.

Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English with additional reports from the Associated Press. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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Words in This Story

inconsistent - adj. not in agreement with something

oath - n. a formal and serious promise to do something