CASPER — During the eight years of the Obama administration, Wyoming’s senators spent considerable time criticizing federal overreach. But accusations of overreach by the Trump administration in attempting to leapfrog Congressional authority on funding a southern border wall failed to sway Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi from voting Thursday against the president’s emergency declaration.
Barrasso and Enzi found themselves on the losing end of a 59-41 Senate vote to overturn a national emergency declaration President Donald Trump made last month in order to finance a border wall that Congress – which is tasked with the power of the purse – declined to finance. Twelve Republican senators joined Democrats in supporting the resolution, many saying they were uncomfortable with Trump’s effort to bypass Congress.
The House of Representatives had already passed the resolution with 245 ‘aye’ votes.
The vote, however, was largely symbolic. Trump took to Twitter after the vote to say he would veto the resolution. Both chambers of Congress would need to reach a two-thirds majority – 290 people in the House, and 67 in the Senate – to override that veto, well beyond the tallies both managed to achieve.
The president has 10 days to decide on the fate of the bill. However, as of the close of business on Thursday, its fate was apparent.
“VETO!” tweeted Trump.
Reasons for the vote
Barrasso – a staunch supporter of the president – was long considered a “no” on the measure. Wyoming’s junior senator has concurred with the president that there is a crisis of rising violent crime, drug smuggling and human trafficking on the southern border, despite significant evidence to the contrary. Studies have shown undocumented immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native-born residents and that illegal drug trafficking most often comes through the country’s traditional ports of entry – not the open swaths of desert targeted by the administration. In a statement on Thursday, Barrasso blamed Democrats for their inability to see the crisis as he and other Republicans saw it, while maintaining that the president was well within his bounds to declare a national emergency to override Congress – even if he did not like it.
“We have a security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border,” said Barrasso. “The president made a compelling case for why we need more border barriers to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and illegal drugs into our nation.
“I would have preferred a legislative solution to solve this critical problem,” he added. “However, Democrats who supported border barriers in the past refused to listen to border security experts and blocked the necessary funding. The president has the statutory authority to declare an emergency, and he is making good on his promise to secure our southern border and protect the American people.”
The legality of the emergency declaration was argued in a USA Today op-ed on Thursday penned by Attorneys General Ken Paxton, Curtis Hill and Jeff Landry.
By Nick Reynolds
Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange