NEWS DIGEST – The U.S. Senate on Thursday said it was poised to pass a proposal to terminate President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the southern border.
Five Republican senators said they backed the measure passed in February by the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats.
No fewer than four Republicans are needed to pass it in the 100-seat Senate, along with all 45 Democrats and two independents.
However, the measure is unlikely to become law given that a two-third vote of Congress is needed to override a presidential veto.
“We’ll see whether or not I have to do the veto. And it will be, I think, all very successful, regardless of how it all works out,” Trump told newsmen on Wednesday.
Vice President Mike Pence met with Republican senators this week to try to tamp down support for the measure, with some Republicans worried that future Democratic presidents could usurp the power of Congress to fund the government.
Some Republicans are also worried that future Democratic presidents might use the emergency declarations to fund their own pet programmes.
Pence told senators that Trump would back a second bill offered by Republican Senator Mike Lee, which would end future emergency declarations after 30 days unless Congress votes to extend them.
On Wednesday, Lee said the White House had subsequently made clear his bill did not have an immediate path forward.
He added that he would vote to end the emergency declaration. Ticking clock may save Trump from impeachment
At stake are billions of dollars in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Trump is demanding but Congress has refused to fully provide.
The stalemate led to a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended in January.
Under the emergency declaration Trump signed on Feb. 15, he will take money from other federal programmes to build the barrier he says is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
Democrats have denied there is an emergency at the border, saying border crossings are at a four-decade low.
Court challenges have also been filed asserting it is Congress, not the president that decides how taxpayer money is spent. (Reuters/NAN)