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McConnell Says Senate Will Vote Against Trump’s National Emergency

Ryland Barton
Kentucky Public Radio

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he thinks the Senate will pass a bill attempting to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration over border security, but that Congress wouldn’t be able to override a veto.

McConnell made the comments during a press conference in Louisville on Monday morning.

“There will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then all likelihood the veto will be upheld,” McConnell said.

Trump declared the emergency last month after Congress didn’t vote to dedicate $5.7 billion for a border wall along the country’s southern border.

Trump says the wall is necessary to combat the drug trade and illegal immigration. The emergency declaration allows the president to divert money from other federal programs to fund construction.

When asked if he was worried that future Democratic presidents would use similar tactics on issues like climate change or gun control, McConnell said he was.

“That’s one reason I argued, obviously without success to the President, that he not take this route,” McConnell said.

Over the weekend, Kentucky’s junior senator Rand Paul said he would vote to block the emergency declaration, making him the deciding Republican vote on the issue in the Senate.

Paul said he opposed Trump’s move because it involves spending that hasn’t been approved by Congress.

“We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn’t authorize it. If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing,” Paul said according to the Bowling Green Daily News.

The measure to disapprove Trump’s emergency declaration has already passed out of the Democratic-led House and the president has indicated he will veto it if it passes.

It would take a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate to override a veto.

During the press conference, McConnell also announced that Trump had included $400 million to fully-fund a new VA Medical Center in Louisville in his 2020 budget request to Congress.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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