Senate again votes to end Trump's border wall emergency

By Tony Bertuca / September 25, 2019 at 4:47 PM

The Senate voted 54-41 today to terminate an emergency declaration President Trump has used to divert billions in Pentagon funding to construct a wall on the southern border, with 11 Republicans breaking with the White House and setting the stage for a presidential veto.

Republican senators who backed the termination include: Lamar Alexander (TN), Roy Blunt (MO), Susan Collins (ME), Mike Lee (UT), Jerry Moran (KS), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rand Paul (KY), Rob Portman (OH), Mitt Romney (UT), Pat Toomey (PA) and Roger Wicker (MS).

The vote, however, does not have a veto-proof majority of 67 lawmakers. Congress previously voted in March to end the emergency declaration, but Trump vetoed the measure.

The White House has released a statement threatening to veto the current measure as well.

This latest vote to terminate the emergency comes amid a chaotic time for Congress.

The House has begun impeachment proceedings against Trump and lawmakers still need to pass a continuing resolution to avoid an Oct. 1 government shutdown.

House and Senate lawmakers are also negotiating the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill and funding for Trump’s border wall has become a central point of contention.

Republicans and the White House are hoping the appropriations and authorization bills will "backfill" the $3.6 billion in Pentagon military construction funds being diverted to build a border barrier. The money will come from 127 construction projects being deferred inside and outside the United States.

Democrats have vowed to block the diverted funds from being backfilled and want to prevent the Pentagon from spending it on the wall.

"The vote today is the surest and likely the only way to restore funding the president has stolen from our troops and military projects across the country," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the chamber floor.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK), however, accused Democrats of "playing politics."

"If Democrats would accept the facts, recognize the crisis and fund real border security measures, the president wouldn't be forced to continue the national emergency," he said in a statement. "Over the past six months, we've seen how the emergency declaration and the President's partnership with Mexico have had a positive impact and reduced border crossings, but the crisis isn't over. We need to build the wall and secure the border."