United States Senate Rejected President Donald Trump’ Emergency Declaration at the Southern Border - Photo by BBC

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – United States (US) Senate rejected President Donald Trump’ emergency declaration at the southern border, setting up what will be the first veto from the White House. Trump has framed the move as desertion by 12 Republican members to support Democrats.

The vote was 59-41, an overwhelming vote against the president’ executive action. Immediately after the resolution Trump tweeted “VETO!”.

It’s a blow to the White House — and it won’t be Trump’ only veto. The president has also promised to reject legislation both the Senate and the House passed to pull the US out of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

A short while later he added, “I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country. I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and are desperately needed WALL!”

Its the second time in as many days that Senate Republicans have directly confronted the president. On Wednesday (03/13), seven Republican senators voted in favor of a resolution to end US involvement in Saudi Arabia’ war in Yemen, a measure that Trump is also expected to veto.

Both chambers of Congress have now passed the national emergency resolution, which would end the emergency if the president decides to sign it. But Trump has said he won’t, and through a number of Republicans opposed the resolution, not enough did to get to a veto-proof threshold.

Trump’ anticipated vetoes on the national emergency and the Yemen resolution would be the first of his presidency. He declared the emergency on Feb. 15, angering Congress for challenging its “power of the purse.” It’s also likely Trump will face lawsuits for his use of emergency powers, but he insists he’ll win any case brought against him.

Congress is also insisting there’s no national security crisis at the southern border, despite Trump’s rhetoric regarding terrorism, drugs, and sexual assault in his attempts to claim an immigration disaster worthy of executive action. Reports from government agencies actually refute many of Trump’ claims and show these so-called dangers are false or out of proportion.

Republicans were worried that the move was of dubious constitutionality and that it could set a precedent for future Democratic presidents to use national emergencies as a tool to fund policy priorities like a Green New Deal. It wasn’t clear, however, whether these statements would translate to actual votes against the emergency.

The concern that this declaration could establish a precedent that future presidents might abuse is what spurred many Republicans to vote in favor of blocking the emergency, even as the president hammered them on Twitter and argued that the issue at hand was simply bordered security.

Several Republicans also highlighted the president’ effort to bypass Congress’ constitutionally designated “power of the purse” and cited that as a reason for their votes.

Immediately Trump comments: “Republican Senators are over thinking tomorrow’s vote on National Emergency. It is very simply Border Security/No Crime – Should not be thought of any other way. We have a MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY at our Border and the People of our Country know it very well!”

He noted in his tweets, Republicans broadly agree with him on the matter of bolstering border security, but they disagree with his means of using the national emergency to obtain funding. He also hinted in statements that the Republicans who vote against the emergency could face a revolt from the base and attract potential primary challengers.

Given their longstanding reluctance to openly oppose the president, Republican senators were still looking for ways to avoid a high-profile conflict as recently as this week.

But is the vote moot? Neither the House nor the Senate has enough votes to achieve the two-thirds majority to override the veto. At the last minute before the vote, Trump expressed that he was open to evaluating his emergency powers — which may draw some Republican senators back to his base to discuss executive checks on Congress. The vote is still a blow to the White House, though. The wall is one of Trump’s main campaign promises he has yet to deliver.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com