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Senate again votes to end Trump emergency declaration on border wall

The Senate again voted on Wednesday to end President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE’s emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border wall, paving the way for a veto showdown with the White House.

Senators voted 54-41 on a resolution to end the declaration, which Trump used to shift billions of dollars from the military toward wall construction.

Under the National Emergencies Act, a resolution ending the declaration needed only a simple majority to clear the Senate, making it likely to be approved. But underscoring the broad swath of concern about Trump’s actions among the Senate GOP caucus, 11 Republican senators voted to nix the declaration.

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GOP Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (Tenn.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntUS Chamber of Commerce to stop supporting some lawmakers following the Capitol riots Senate to be briefed on inauguration security after Capitol attack This week: Democrats barrel toward Trump impeachment after Capitol attack MORE (Mo.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsImpeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (Maine), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeRepublicans wrestle over removing Trump Lawmakers, leaders offer condolences following the death of Capitol Police officer GOP senators urging Trump officials to not resign after Capitol chaos MORE (Utah), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) Moran'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack Electoral College fight splits GOP as opposition grows to election challenge Hillicon Valley: Texas, other states bring antitrust lawsuit against Google | Krebs emphasizes security of the election as senators butt heads | Twitter cracks down on coronavirus vaccine misinformation MORE (Kan.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocratic lawmaker says 'assassination party' hunted for Pelosi during riot Impeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate MORE (Alaska), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Legislatures boost security after insurrection, FBI warnings Former Missouri senator says backing Hawley was 'worst mistake of my life' MORE (Ky.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGraham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump Impeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP GOP in bind over Trump as corporate donations freeze MORE (Ohio), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyImpeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (Utah), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Appeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (Pa.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerWall Street Journal: GOP Electoral College 'stunt' will hurt US, Republican Party Bipartisan group of senators: The election is over Southwest Airlines says it won't furlough workers after Trump signed relief bill MORE (Miss.) voted to end the president's declaration. 

The vote marks another setback for Trump in the midst of a chaotic week on Capitol Hill. The White House is locked in a burgeoning impeachment battle with Democrats and lawmakers still need to fund the government before Monday to prevent the second shutdown of the year.

Democrats have seized on the administration’s decision to shift money away from military construction projects as a way to politically box in Republicans by forcing them to decide between breaking with Trump or voting to allow money to be shifted away from projects in their own states.

“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 Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCowboys for Trump founder arrested following Capitol riot Graham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump Biden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs MORE (D-N.Y.) said ahead of the vote.

He added that if Republicans voted to uphold Trump’s use of his emergency powers they would be setting "a dangerous precedent that could embolden not just this president but future presidents to ignore congressional authority.”

Trump’s decision to leapfrog Congress and declare a national emergency came after lawmakers passed a government funding bill that included $1.375 billion for border barriers.

But the decision has become a perennial headache for the GOP. Under the National Emergencies Act, Democrats can force a vote on ending Trump’s emergency declaration every six months. The Senate previously voted to end it in February, with 12 Republicans voting with Democrats, but the House was unable to override a veto.

“It’s a vote the Democrats can insist on. I’m pretty sure there’s no Republican insisting on taking that vote again,” said Blunt, a member of GOP leadership, referring to the second vote.

Under a list circulated by the Pentagon, officials are shifting money away from military construction projects in 14 states that have Republican senators to go instead toward the border wall.

Some of those states will be at the heart of the 2020 battle for control of the Senate, including Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina, where GOP Sens. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyCindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' Arizona state GOP moves to censure Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed MORE (Ariz.), Cory GardnerCory GardnerOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs denounce Capitol attack | Contractors halt donations after siege | 'QAnon Shaman' at Capitol is Navy vet Lobbying world Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (Colo.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisDemocrats see Georgia as model for success across South McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Seven Senate races to watch in 2022 MORE (N.C.) are on the ballot.

Democrats also trolled Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump Rove: Chances of conviction rise if Giuliani represents Trump in Senate impeachment trial Boebert communications director resigns amid Capitol riot: report MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday, holding a press conference with a former educator from Fort Campbell Middle School in Kentucky, which lost $62 million under the emergency declaration.

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McConnell knocked Democrats on Wednesday, arguing they were forcing them to hold a repeat vote even though they knew the outcome — that Congress won’t be able to override a veto.

“Still unwilling to work with the president and Republicans on a long-term bipartisan solution for border security, Senate Democrats are making us repeat the same show vote again. I would urge my colleagues to vote for border security and vote against Democrats’ resolution,” he said.

Republicans who support ending the emergency declaration argue that their decision isn’t about Trump personally but about broader concerns on upholding the separation of powers.

“Let me be clear: The question before us is not whether to support or oppose the wall, or to support or oppose the President. Rather, it is: Do we want the Executive Branch — now or in the future — to hold a power that the Founders deliberately entrusted to Congress?” GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), a co-sponsor of the resolution, asked earlier this month.

But Republicans would also likely have sparked fierce backlash from their party’s base if they broke with Trump on the wall, an issue that fires up the president’s core group of supporters.

They are hoping to backfill the $3.6 billion being diverted to the border as part of the fiscal 2020 funding bills.

Democrats, however, have pledged to block any effort to replace the money. The Senate has also struggled to get its funding bills off the ground. The military construction and Veterans Affairs bill, which would include the backfilled funds, hasn’t yet been brought up in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynHarris to resign from Senate seat on Monday Cruz, Cornyn to attend Biden inauguration McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (R-Texas), who is up for reelection, said he would vote to uphold the emergency declaration even though it is resulting in military projects in his state losing money.

“Same way I voted last time. How would I square voting differently?” Cornyn asked.

When a reporter noted his state was losing money according to the Pentagon list, he added: “that’s way too parochial.”

Spokespeople for McSally and Tillis also confirmed ahead of the vote that they would also support the emergency declaration.

“Senator Tillis will once again be supporting President Trump’s emergency declaration because Democrats refuse to provide the president with the tools and resources he needs to address the crisis at our southern border and keep America safe,” said a spokesperson for Tillis.

Democrats urged additional Republicans to support the resolution, but were also realistic about their chances of picking up more GOP votes. Critically for Trump, Republicans were able to keep the vote total below 67, the amount needed to override a veto.

“I do remember what happened with one senator who actually put out a column … saying he was going to vote against this extension of presidential power, 48 hours later he reversed himself,” Durbin said, referring to Tillis. “I don’t know what pressure these Republican senators face … in questioning the president.”