Senate again says no to Trump’s border wall emergency declaration

Senate again says no to Trump’s border wall emergency declaration

Construction crews continue work on the new border wall system along the Southwest border near San Luis, Ariz., 20 August 2019 (DoD photo)

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday again voted to end President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border wall, paving the way for another likely veto showdown with the White House.

The vote, the second time the Senate has voted to end the emergency declaration, comes after the Pentagon earlier this month announced that almost of the contracts to use funds taken from other accounts to pay for border wall activities — know as programming – were almost filled. They also named the projects where money was removed.

When the Senate first voted against the emergency declaration in February, members did not know which defense projects would be affected.

The Wednesday vote was 54-41 on a resolution to end the declaration. The majority vote included 11 Republican senators: Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Susan Collins (Maine), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).

Under the National Emergencies Act, a vote to end the declaration can come every six months. Trump vetoed the first measure in March and Congress did not have enough votes to override.

Pentagon officials are shifting money away from military construction projects in 14 states that have Republican senators to boost the border wall.

Unlike last year, Congress has not been able to pass a funding bill for defense spending before the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. Republicans want to backfill $3.6 billion plucked from other accounts and being diverted to the border with funding included as part of the fiscal 2020 funding bills.

Democrats have vowed to thwart such bids to replace the diverted dollar. The military construction and Veterans Affairs bill, which would include the backfilled funds, is stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee awaiting action.

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