Mitch McConnell Fails to Prevent Revolt Against Trump’s National Emergency Declaration

(INSET: Mitch McConnell) NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MARCH 02: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during CPAC 2019 on March 02, 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland. The American Conservative Union hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference to discuss conservative agenda. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Tasos Katopodis, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has broken a reported promise to President Donald Trump, admitting Monday that he failed to prevent Republican Senators from passing a resolution blocking a national emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Speaking at an event Louisville, McConnell said that while the resolution will pass in the Senate, it is highly likely the House will vote to uphold the president’s veto. “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,” he said.

The admission comes after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced Sunday that he joined three of his fellow Republican senators to vote with 47 Senate Democrats in backing an anti-declaration resolution which passed the House. “I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress. We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn’t authorize it. If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing,” Paul said, the Bowling Green Daily News reported.

In addition to Paul, Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Susan Collins (R-ME) will also support the measure, while Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have not made their position on resolution public.

Later this month, the Senate will vote on the resolution to prevent President Trump from reallocating, without Congress, billions of dollars to fund the construction of a Southern border wall. In February, President Trump announced that he would declare an emergency to build the wall after Congress passed legislation providing $1.3 billion for barriers. He plans to divert $3.6 billion from military construction of the wall and transfer another $3.1 billion towards the construction. As the New York Times reported, McConnell promised the president to support the declaration, signaling that he would quell any opposition to the measure.

[A]fter a particularly unpleasant meeting with the secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, the president was threatening to torpedo the deal, according to two people briefed on the exchange. Several hours and several phone calls later, McConnell had persuaded Mr. Trump to once again agree to sign the bill to avert another government shutdown looming at midnight Friday.

But persuasion came at a price: The president would declare a national emergency to try to secure wall funding without congressional approval, he told the majority leader — and Mr. McConnell would have to back him.

Later in his remarks Monday, the Senate Majority Leader said attempted to talk the president out of issuing a declaration, saying that it may set a precedent of abuse by future Democrat administration seeking to prosecute their progressive agenda without Congress. “That’s one reason I argued without success that he not take this route,” McConnell said.

“I was one of those hoping the president would not take the national emergency route,” added the Kentucky Republican. “Once he decided to do that I said I would support it, but I was hoping he wouldn’t take that particular path.”


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