Tennessee senators split in vote on Trump’s national emergency declaration on border wall

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., questions Attorney General nominee William Barr as he testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. As he did almost 30 years ago, Barr is appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to make the case he’s qualified to serve as attorney general. (AP […]

Tennessee two senators split in the vote Thursday on President’s Trump’s national emergency declaration on the border wall.

The Senate voted 59-41 to cancel Trump’s February proclamation of a border emergency. Twelve Republicans joined Democrats in defying Trump.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander voted against President Trump’s national emergency declaration while Sen. Marsha Blackburn voted to support Trump’s declaration.

“I support the president on border security,” Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement Thursday. “I have urged him to build the 234 miles of border wall he has asked for in the fastest possible way by using $5.7 billion already approved by Congress. But his declaration to take an additional $3.6 billion that Congress has appropriated for military hospitals, barracks and schools is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I swore an oath to support and defend “

RELATED: GOP senators appear ready to block Trump border declaration

Approval by the Senate sets up a veto decision for Trump. The House has already voted to disapprove the declaration, which forced Senate consideration. Many GOP senators had hoped to avoid the confrontation because Trump commands die-hard loyalty from millions of conservative voters.

“Since Congress gave emergency powers to the executive branch in 1976 under the National Emergencies Act, presidents from both political parties have declared national emergencies in the United States over situations far less dire than the security and humanitarian crisis that is currently plaguing the southern border,” said Blackburn, a first-term Republican. “The President and Congress must take swift action to secure our border, protect our citizens, and defend our sovereignty. I support President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and I reject the resolution of disapproval.”

Alexander, however, said, “Never before has a president asked for funding, Congress has not provided it, and the president then has used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway. “The problem with this is that after a Revolutionary War against a king, our nation’s founders gave to Congress the power to approve all spending so that the president would not have too much power. This check on the executive is a crucial source of our freedom.

“This declaration is a dangerous precedent. Already, Democrat presidential candidates are saying they would declare emergencies to tear down the existing border wall, take away guns, stop oil exports, shut down offshore drilling and other leftwing enterprises—all without the approval of Congress.”

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