The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to avert another partial government shutdown with bipartisan spending legislation that funds new barriers for part of the U.S.-Mexico border, but not the $5.7 billion that President Donald Trump sought for a wall. The Republican-led Senate backed the bill, which would provide over $300 billion for several government departments and agencies, 83-16. It now goes to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which passed the bill, 300-128. Trump is expected to sign, then declare a national emergency via executive order at 10:00 AM ET Friday.
WASHINGTON, Feb 14 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will sign a border security bill to avert another government shutdown, but also declare a national emergency to obtain funds for his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, the top Senate Republican said on Thursday.
In an attempt to bypass Congress to get money that lawmakers have denied him for his wall, Trump appeared headed toward triggering a swift court challenge from Democrats on constitutional grounds.
“I’ve just had an opportunity to speak to President Trump and he, I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated he is prepared to sign the bill,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.
“He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time and I’ve indicated to him that I’m going to support a national emergency declaration,” McConnell said.
The bipartisan legislation would provide more than $300 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security and a range of other federal agencies through Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Funding is due to expire for those agencies on Friday.
Congress was expected later on Thursday to approve the legislation, which does not contain the money Trump demanded for the wall but does contain money for other border security measures.
The bill faces votes in the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-controlled House of Representatives before going to Trump, who triggered a 35-day-long shutdown of about a quarter of the federal government with his December demand for $5.7 billion to help build a portion of the wall.
In denying him that money, Congress has blocked Trump from carrying through on one of his key 2016 campaign pledges.
The border bill would provide $1.37 billion in new money to help build 55 miles (88.5 km) of new physical barriers on the border. It is the same level of funding Congress appropriated for border security measures last year, including barriers but not concrete walls. (Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Roberta Rampton; Writing by Kevin Drawbaugh and James Oliphant; Editing by Will Dunham)
This story is developing, more to come…
House Passes $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill
(CNN) — The House of Representatives on Friday approved a historic $2 trillion coronavirus response stimulus package, clearing the way for President Trump’s signature.
The far-reaching legislation stands as the largest emergency aid package in US history. It injects a massive financial boost into a struggling economy with provisions aimed at helping American workers, small businesses and industries grappling with the economic disruption.
Key elements of the package include sending checks directly to individuals and families, an expansion of unemployment benefits, money for hard-hit hospitals and health care providers, financial assistance for small businesses and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.
“No bill is perfect, but we want to make sure that it at least comes near part of the way to being sufficient,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor. She said she is already working towards a fourth coronavirus response measure: “We know that this cannot be our final bill.”
A bipartisan swath of lawmakers passed the stimulus package by voice vote, a process commonly used in the House for uncontroversial measures, after Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie attempted to force a full roll call vote — a scenario that had members scrambling to get back to the Capitol from around the country on Friday.
Congressional leaders blocked Massie’s effort, saying an insufficient number of members supported his request. A quorum of the House — 216 members — was needed to block Massie’s attempt. Members who made it to DC for the debate attempted to maintain social distancing, with some staying on the House floor while others sat in the upstairs gallery above the chamber, where the public usually sits.
Essentially, hundreds of lawmakers traveled to the Capitol in the 24 hours leading up to the vote, not to hold a full vote, but in order to prevent a full vote from happening. If a roll call vote had been taken, it would have been very slow: members would have voted in alphabetical groups in order to limit their social interactions.
Massie wrote on Twitter ahead of the showdown that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy worked together “to block a recorded vote just to insulate members of Congress from ACCOUNTABILITY.”
“Biggest spending bill in the history of mankind, and no recorded vote? #SWAMP,” he said.
Trump Signs First Veto Of Presidency, Reversing National Emergency Rescission Passed Through Congress
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday issued the first veto of his presidency, rejecting legislation that opposed his declaration of a national emergency to fund a wall along the southern border. The bill blocking Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration had attracted significant Republican support in Congress.
“Today I am vetoing this resolution,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it.” The president called the resolution “dangerous” and “reckless.”
The president was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William P. Barr and Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security secretary. Mr. Barr said that the president’s emergency order was “clearly authorized under the law” and “solidly grounded in law.”
The president’s veto, which was expected, will send the legislation back to Congress, which most likely does not have enough votes for an override, meaning that Mr. Trump’s declaration will remain in effect.
The national emergency declaration is back in effect.
Congress Overturns Trump National Emergency Declaration
Washington (CNN) The Senate delivered a high-profile rebuke to President Donald Trump over his signature agenda issue Thursday when 12 Republicans joined Democrats to overturn the President’s national emergency border declaration.
The vote was 59-41, an overwhelming vote against the President’s executive action.
Lawmakers don’t have enough votes, however, to override a certain veto from the President, but passage of the resolution in the Senate after it passed the House last month is nevertheless an embarrassing blow to Trump delivered by his own party over the President’s top campaign pledge of a wall at the US-Mexico border.
The setback for the President also comes on the heels of another high-profile break with his administration after the Senate voted just one day earlier to curtail US military support for a Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has created a humanitarian crisis in that country.
Senate Republicans have struggled for weeks over how to vote on the resolution to overturn the national emergency.
The vote forced many to choose between loyalty to a President unafraid to attack members of his party who defy him and an emergency declaration that conservative critics describe as executive overreach and warn could set a precedent used by Democratic presidents to declare emergencies over liberal priorities such as action on climate change.
“Declaring a national emergency to access different funds sets a dangerous new precedent,” GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio warned in remarks on the Senate floor ahead of the vote. “It opens the door for future presidents to implement just about any policy they want.”
The senator went on to say, “a future President could seize industries … a future President may well say that climate change is a national emergency and use emergency authorities to implement the Green New Deal,” referencing a sweeping progressive policy proposal to tackle global warming.
Portman announced during his remarks that he would support the resolution, but made a point to say — as have many other Republicans — that he believes “President Trump is right about the crisis at the border.”
Republicans had to take a tough vote on the border declaration after House Democrats pushed for a resolution to terminate the national emergency that the President announced last month in an effort to unlock money for wall construction at the southern border.
The President declared an emergency when it became clear that Congress would not meet his demand for more than $5 billion in border wall funding. The resolution is privileged, which means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could not block it from coming to the floor for a vote.
Enough Republican senators had already stated their support for the resolution ahead of Thursday’s vote to guarantee it would pass. But the President continued to publicly pressure Republicans to vote against the resolution in the hours leading up to the vote, framing the vote as a choice between supporting border security or siding with liberal Democrats on immigration.
A number of GOP senators announced ahead of the vote on Thursday that they would vote in favor of the resolution, including Mitt Romney, Lamar Alexander and Pat Toomey.
Prior to the day of the vote, GOP Senators Rand Paul, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Thom Tillis had said they planned to vote for the resolution.
In an apparent last-minute reversal, however, Tillis announced just ahead of the vote on Thursday that he would vote against the resolution, despite previously saying he would vote in favor in a Washington Post op-ed.
“Today, I come to the floor to say that I do not intend to vote for the resolution of disapproval,” the senator said, adding “The White House has been very gracious and I should say very patient given my initial position in working with us.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.
News1 month ago
Nine US Federal Death Row Inmates Have Been Executed In 2020, Four More Are Expected To Be Executed Before Biden’s Inauguration, With More Possibly Coming [LIVE]
Breaking News1 month ago
First Coronavirus Vaccine US Shipments Expected To Arrive Monday December 14th
Breaking News3 weeks ago
One Killed, Five Injured In Weekend Massachusetts Music Video Shooting
Breaking News3 weeks ago
Louisiana Congressman-Elect Luke Letlow Dead From COVID-19
Breaking News1 month ago
Pete Buttigieg Being Considered For Biden Ambassadorship To China Position
Breaking News1 month ago
President Trump Set To Intervene In Multi-State Lawsuit Headed By Federally-Indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Breaking News3 weeks ago
Oklahoma Health Officials Reject CDC Vaccine Recommendation
Breaking News4 weeks ago
Three People Killed, Three People Injured In Illinois Bowling Alley Shooting