Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Udall (D-NM) unveiled the Senate version of a bill Thursday that would terminate President Donald Trump’s national emergency allowing him to build a wall along the southern border.
In unveiling the Senate version of the bill that the House passed, the Maine senator said Trump’s national emergency serves as an example of “executive overreach.”
“The question before us is not whether to support or oppose the wall. It is not whether to support or oppose President Trump,” Collins said on the Senate floor. “Rather, it is this: do we the executive branch, now or in the future, to [sic] hold the power that the founders deliberately entrusted to Congress?”
Collins also revealed that Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sponsored the bill. Along with Murkowski and Collins, Sen. Tom Tillis (R-NC) signaled he would vote for the resolution to end the national emergency. This would suggest that only one Republican needs to defect in the Senate to pass the resolution should every Democrat vote for the bill.
Sen. Udall said his motivation to sponsor the resolution does not arise from the border fight itself, but, instead, he wants to stand “up for the Constitution.”
The New Mexico Democrat said the national emergency was “an end run around Congress’s power to appropriate, plain and simple.”
Collins, who will run for re-election in 2020, said she supports increased border security and “physical barriers where they make sense.”
The Maine Republican said Congress’s inability to fund a border wall does not allow the president to use his national emergency powers to build it.
“I understand that the president is disappointed that the funding he requested did not pass,” Collins explained. “But the failure of Congress to pass funding in the amount the president prefers does not become an excuse for the president to usurp the powers of the [legislative] branch.”
Collins said she has opposed similar executive overreaches in the past, such as former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty.
However, one federal district judge ruled in August 2018 that DACA was illegal, whereas many lawyers have argued that Trump has the authority under the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to reappropriate money to build the wall.
The House passed the resolution to terminate Trump’s national emergency on Tuesday; however, the bill failed to obtain a two-thirds majority, which would suggest that the House could not override Trump’s veto. The Senate will likely vote on Collins’ bill in the next few weeks.
President Trump tweeted Monday that without “strong borders,” we do not have a country:
I hope our great Republican Senators don’t get led down the path of weak and ineffective Border Security. Without strong Borders, we don’t have a Country – and the voters are on board with us. Be strong and smart, don’t fall into the Democrats “trap” of Open Borders and Crime!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2019