President Trump drew scorn and criticism from Republicans when he declared a national emergency that even he admitted wasn’t necessary. In the House, a handful of Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues to pass a bill that would overturn his national emergency. Now, the bill goes to the Senate and it’s time for lawmakers to finally stand up for the Constitution — even if that means voting against the President.
Some Republican senators have already made clear that they will not be standing by Trump’s clear executive overreach and abuse of power and will support the bill if and when it comes for a vote. Good for them. Sens. Thom Tills R-N.C., Lisa Murkowski R-Alaska, and Susan Collins R-Maine, are on the front lines of defending the separation of powers and Congresses control of funding.
That leaves the Senate split 50 – 50 if no other Republicans decide that they are willing to openly object to a fake national emergency.
But confronting the president is hard. Others, clearly opposed to the national emergency, are hoping to avoid having to oppose Trump outright on the Senate floor. Their goal is instead to persuade him to simply withdraw his emergency declaration and avoid the issue entirely.
Among those lawmakers is Sen. Lamar Alexander R- Tenn., who has called for the president to give up his emergency declaration and the dangerous precedent it would set.
As he told reporters Thursday: Trump’s national emergency declaration for border wall funding is “unnecessary, unwise and inconsistent with the Constitution.” He added, “we’ve never had a case where the president has asked for money, been refused the money by Congress, then used the national emergency powers to spend it anyway.”
That’s a good start. But if Trump doesn’t take the offer to avoid a split between the White House and Republicans in the Senate, lawmakers like Alexander must be willing to rebuke him with a vote even if that means facing Trump’s wrath.
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