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Senate Again Votes to Block Trump’s National Emergency, but Short of Veto-Proof Majority

Yuval Rosenberg

The Senate voted 54-41 Wednesday to disapprove of President Trump’s national emergency declaration and his shifting of Pentagon funding toward construction of barriers along the southern border.

The vote, forced by Democrats, was the Senate’s second effort at overturning Trump’s emergency declaration, following a previous vote in March. As with that first vote, the Senate tally once again fell shy of the 60 needed to override a presidential veto, meaning that lawmakers won’t be able to block Trump from diverting military funding toward his wall. Eleven Republicans joined with Democrats in voting for the resolution of disapproval on Wednesday.

Even so, the vote gave Democrats an opportunity to highlight Republican support for Trump’s reprogramming military funds. “When senators last voted on the issue, the Pentagon had not released a list of the $3.6 billion in military construction projects that were being canceled to pay for Trump’s border barrier,” The Washington Post notes. “But it was released earlier this month, and senators have a list of the specific projects in their states that are being scrapped to free up funding for Trump’s wall." That dynamic created new pressure for GOP senators, especially those up for reelection in 2020, to weigh their allegiance to Trump and his border wall against their support for much-needed projects at military bases and installations back home.”

Bloomberg’s Laura Litvan writes that the new vote “could have some political bite for Republicans up for re-election in 2020 who have military installations in their states, including Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado and John Cornyn of Texas.”

But whatever increased pressure GOP lawmakers may have felt, it didn’t change any votes. Cornyn, whose state is losing more than $38 billion in funding for military projects, deemed such concerns “way too parochial,” according to the Post, and predicted that the diverted funds would be replenished by Congress.

The bottom line: Congress failed to override Trump’s veto last time and this resolution of disapproval is expected to meet the same fate.

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