Toomey among dozen GOP Senators opposing Trump's national emergency
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was among the dozen GOP senators who broke ranks with both the party and President Trump Thursday, voting in favor of a Democratic-led resolution to terminate the White’s House national emergency declaration for border wall funding.
Toomey confirmed his position to Erie News Now more than an hour before the Senate voted on the resolution. He had been among a growing number of Senate Republicans considering a “no” vote throughout the week. Toomey and others cited concerns over constitutionality and setting a precedent for Democratic administrations to declare a similar emergency in an attempt to push liberal policies.
“The problem I have is not the president’s will to spend this money, it’s the mechanism by which he’s doing it,” Toomey said. “It’s very important that we consistently follow the constitution and principles we have.”
Among the other defectors include conservative Republicans Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul along with moderate Republicans Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
But there is fear of the President’s political backlash for those who are remaining in the Senate. The threat of that fear came during a Thursday morning tweet by Trump.
“A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Toomey and a group of GOP Senators met this week with Vice President Mike Pence trying to convince the White House to find another avenue to obtain the more than $8 billion for the border wall. Those talks reportedly included an amendment from Toomey and Lee that would have reformed the National Emergencies Act – the law that allowed Trump to seek the money – in the future in exchange for their support on this vote.
But the President didn’t budge, so neither did the senators.
“I’m with the president on most policies, but there are some where we disagree,” Toomey said. “When there is a disagreement, I feel an obligation to do what is right.”
Toomey made it clear: he supports the border wall and wants more funding for border security in general.
But Pennsylvania’s junior senator considers the national emergency an executive overreach of power. He has been critical of the trump administration of this before, notably with regard to tariffs.
The president has previously threatened to veto the Senate’s decision. To officially end the emergency, the House would need two-thirds support for a veto override, something they likely don’t have. That means the veto will stand, for now, and this will likely be in for a long battle in the courts.