Senate votes to end emergency declaration on the border...again

Senate votes to end emergency declaration on the border...again

The Senate voted today to put an end to President Trump’s emergency declaration on the border. Eleven GOP Senators joined Democrats in voting to end the emergency by 54-41. This is the second time the Senate has voted to override the president’s declaration. The first attempt was vetoed by Trump earlier this year:

Mr. Trump made the declaration so that he could unilaterally build a border wall despite the fact that Congress did not appropriate the funds for him to do so. Under the declaration, President Trump diverted funding from congressionally approved military construction projects to pay for border barriers.

The administration has so far reprogrammed about $6.1 billion in funding for the construction of border barriers.

In March, the Senate voted to reject the emergency declaration, but the president promptly vetoed the measure and instructed the Department of Defense to divert funds for a border wall. The House of Representatives failed to override the veto.

Twelve Republicans joined the Democrats last time around. The Hill points out that Senate Democrats can keep doing this every six months:

Under the National Emergencies Act, Democrats can force a vote on ending Trump’s emergency declaration every six months. The Senate previously voted to end it in February, with 12 Republicans voting with Democrats, but the House was unable to override a veto.

“It’s a vote the Democrats can insist on. I’m pretty sure there’s no Republican insisting on taking that vote again,” said Blunt, a member of GOP leadership, referring to the second vote.

Republicans have pushed to have Congress backfill the money transferred from the Pentagon, but Democrats are resisting those efforts. Meanwhile, construction of the border wall is going forward. The DoD announced earlier this month that about one mile of new border wall is being built per day:

At present, about a mile of border wall is being built each day, Jonathan Rath Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference today.

The Army Corps of Engineers is the executive agent for DOD’s border wall construction. In April and May, the Corps awarded about $2.5 billion in projects to build a portion of the wall that will span 129 miles in New Mexico, Arizona and California, Hoffman said.

As of this week, virtually all of that $2.5 billion has been obligated and is on contract, and officials expect to have the remaining $3 million obligated before the end of this month, he said.

The latest attempt to undo the emergency declaration will be vetoed once again and Democrats will try presumably try a third time to end it in another six months.

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