Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he departs following the Friends of Ireland Luncheon in honor of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, March 14, 2019.
In a tweet Thursday, he wrote that “today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!!” He added: “Don’t vote with [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi!”
In a statement after the vote, Pelosi said Congress voted “on an overwhelming and bipartisan basis” to reject a “sham emergency declaration.”
“President Trump’s emergency declaration is an unlawful power grab that does violence to the Constitution and fundamentally alters the separation of powers,” she said. “This is not an emergency, and the Congress has declared in a strong bipartisan voice that the President’s fearmongering doesn’t make it one.”
Republican senators found themselves trying to balance support for Trump’s goals — which GOP voters overwhelmingly back — and wariness about executive overreach. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., supported the national emergency declaration, putting more pressure on GOP members.
Two Republicans facing tough re-election bids next year — Cory Gardner of Colorado and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — notably voted against blocking the declaration.
Lee proposed a plan this week that would give Congress more power to check future presidential emergency declarations, but not the current one. The measure could have limited GOP defections on Thursday’s vote, but Trump declined to support it Wednesday.
The Senate’s national emergency vote was its second admonishment of the president in two days. It passed a resolution Wednesday to end U.S. support for a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen in a challenge to Trump’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.