National Security

McConnell Expects Passage of Democrat Resolution to Block Trump’s Emergency Declaration

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky became the fourth Republican senator to express his support for the plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Monday he expects a resolution to pass the Senate that would block President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration about the southern border.

House Democrats were quick to start pushing back against the emergency declaration when Trump announced it last month.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) introduced this resolution to terminate the emergency declaration, which later passed the House on February 26.

The Senate is expected to vote on the resolution soon — and now there appear to be enough Republicans defectors to pass it.

“What is clear in the Senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the House,” McConnell said during an event in Kentucky about funding for the Louisville VA Medical Center.

Related: House Dems Pass Resolution to Block Trump’s Border Emergency

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Trump has been fighting to secure America’s southern border with his promise to build a wall as a central piece of the plan.

But the debate on the issue became so divided it led to a record-long partial government shutdown and threatened another.

Trump avoided the second shutdown by reluctantly signing a compromise deal while also declaring a state of emergency at the southern border.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) became the fourth Republican senator to express his support for the resolution.

Senate Democrats already overwhelmingly support the resolution, at 47 members — meaning the four defectors would be enough to get it over the finish line. The president then would have to decide whether to veto it, which he is likely to do.

McConnell said earlier he will not handicap the resolution when it comes to his side. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) helped to build support for the resolution in the week leading up to its introduction in her chamber. The House ended up passing the resolution 245 to 182 to override the order.

Trump made his emergency declaration after congressional negotiators failed to come close to the $5.7 billion he said was needed for border wall construction.

The negotiators were given three weeks to find a compromise after the president signed a short-term spending bill that ended the partial shutdown. The eventual deal included $1.375 billion for physical barriers.

Trump has argued numerous times the situation at the border constitutes a crisis and that a wall is critical to deterring illegal drugs and criminal gangs from coming into this country. But the president is facing lawsuits for the emergency declaration. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading over a dozen other states that have sued the administration.

Many former national security officials also signed onto a statement that publicly rebuked the emergency declaration on Monday.

Related: Dems Introduce Resolution to Block Trump’s Emergency Declaration

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) became one of the first major organizations to announce a lawsuit soon after the president made his declaration. The group argued the decision evades congressional funding restrictions in an unprecedented violation of the law.

The ACLU also sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to vote for the resolution.

American presidents have declared at least 58 states of emergency since lawmakers passed the National Emergencies Act in 1976. That does not include disaster declarations for weather events, according to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. Dozens of emergencies are still in effect because they were extended by other presidents.

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