GOP rep defends Trump's border emergency declaration

GOP Rep. Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackLawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Deficits to average record .3 trillion over next decade: CBO Democrats don't expect to do 2020 budget MORE (Ark.) told Hill.TV on Wednesday that lawmakers should give President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE the tools to secure the border, but since they've failed to do, he said the emergency declaration to get border wall funding was justified.

"Here's my approach: The president didn't get what he wanted from the Congress even though some of the people that voted against what he wanted had voted for it before. So it became kind of a political issue," Womack, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, told hosts Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising." 

"Here's my question, we finally have a president willing to do something about it. We should give him the tools with which to work," he continued. "If the Congress is not willing to do that, if the president has to resort to declaring an emergency based on the conditions on our southern border today, then I say go for it." 

"That's why I think the president was right to declare a national emergency," he added. 

Trump declared a state of emergency last month as a means of getting the funds for his long-promised border wall. 

The move sparked intense debate among Republicans over the issue of separation of powers, with many accusing the president of circumventing Congress's spending authority. 

The House voted 245-182 to overturn the emergency declaration late last month. Womack joined most Republicans in voting against the measure. The Senate is slated to vote on the resolution on Thursday, with at least four Republicans saying they intend to vote in favor of it, enough to secure its passage in the upper chamber. 

The measure faces a certain veto from Trump, the first of his administration.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence Democrats block two Senate abortion bills VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday he would be willing to look into amending the National Emergencies Act to make it easier for Congress to terminate a national emergency. 

"We're looking at some ways to revisit the law. There's a lot of discomfort with the law. ... Was it too broad back in the '70s when it was passed? So yeah, we're discussing altering that," McConnell said. 

— Julia Manchester