Wisconsin’s senators split their votes on the resolution to end the “national emergency” President Donald Trump ordered regarding illegal immigration at the U.S.’s southern border.
In a public statement, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s office referred to Thursday’s vote as a “Nancy Pelosi-led resolution of disapproval.” Despite his dissenting vote, the U.S. Senate voted 59-41 Thursday to end the national emergency, overruling Trump’s declaration. Twelve Republicans voted with Democrats. The House of Representatives had already approved a matching resolution in February.
Johnson said that those who voted to end the emergency were doing so specifically because of their disdain for the president, and thus had ignored national security.
“Unfortunately, securing America’s border has turned into a political brawl, with Democrats — who supported border barriers in the past — now refusing to supply the funding for necessary barriers because they don’t like this president,” he said.
In the first sentence of Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s published statement, she called out the president by name and called his declaration of a national emergency an “unlawful power grab,” which “is an attack on our Constitution’s separation of powers.”
Baldwin said that she still supports strengthening U.S. border security, pointing out that in January she voted for $1.375 billion in funding “to build border barriers where they are needed most.”
Still, Baldwin returned to condemning the president.
“Our Constitution is very clear that Congress has the power of the purse and President Trump can’t just steal the purse and spend money on whatever he wants,” she said.
Johnson agrees with Baldwin that there is a “humanitarian crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border and felt that Trump’s move was justified.
“We have a growing humanitarian crisis at our border that has seen more families and unaccompanied children enter our country in the last five months than at any other time on record,” he said. “That certainly qualifies as an emergency.”
Thursday’s vote marks the first time that a president’s declaration of a national emergency — a power granted by the National Emergencies Act of 1976 — has been blocked by Congress, although Trump could veto it. The Democrat-controlled House quickly voted to end the emergency, but it took the Senate almost a month. Twelve Republican senators voted with Democrats to end the emergency.
In the House, 13 Republicans — including Wisconsin’s Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls and Mike Gallagher of Green Bay — voted with the unanimous Democrats to end the emergency. Racine’s representative, first-term Republican Bryan Steil, voted to continue the national emergency declaration.