The GOP-led Senate approved a resolution Thursday that would nullify President Trump’s national emergency declaration to confront what he called ”a crisis” at the southern border — a stunning and rare rebuke for the commander-in-chief from the upper chamber.
The Senate easily voted down the declaration, with roughly a dozen Republicans joining all Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them in voting to kill it.
But Trump vowed to veto the resolution, which means that barring successful court challenges by environmentalists, border landowners or others, he will be able to shuffle billions in Defense Department spending to begin construction of his long-promised wall.
“I’ll do a veto. It’s not going to be overturned. It’s a border security vote,” Trump told reporters during an unrelated White House event.
It would be Trump’s first veto, and there appeared to be no chance that lawmakers could muster enough votes to override the president’s thumbs down.
GOP opposition grew earlier Thursday to Trump’s declaration as the Senate moved toward the showdown vote.
GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Mitt Romney of Utah Romney became the sixth and seventh Republicans to say they’d vote for the resolution.
A White House official warned that Trump, who demands loyalty above all else from his supporters and fellow Republicans, won’t forget when senators want him to attend fundraisers or provide other help.
Trump wants to use his declaration to steer $3.6 billion more than Congress has approved for building border barriers than Congress has approved.
Trump had earlier rejected a plan by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah that would have given GOP senators cover for opposing the resolution but then passing a second rule that would let presidents only declare national emergencies for 30 days without Congressional approval.
Democrats said there was no emergency at the border and that Trump’s declaration of “a crisis” was a political stunt.
They said Trump issued his declaration only because Congress agreed to provide less than $1.4 billion for barriers and he was desperate to fulfill his campaign promise to “Build the Wall.”
“Democrats and Republicans both know the sad truth: the president did not declare an emergency because there is one,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor.
“He declared an emergency because he lost in Congress and wants to get around it. He’s obsessed with showing strength, and he couldn’t just abandon his pursuit of the border wall, so he had to trample on the Constitution to continue his fight.”
On the Senate floor, Alexander — one of the chamber’s more respected lawmakers — said Trump’s emergency action was “inconsistent with the US Constitution that I took an oath to support,” citing the power Congress has to control spending.
Romney, his party’s 2012 presidential nominee, used a written statement to called Trump’s declaration “an invitation to further expansion and abuse by future presidents.”
On Twitter, Trump called on Republicans to oppose the resolution, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi helped drive through the House last month.
“Today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!” he tweeted.