Senate votes to kill national emergency declaration along southern border

By Eleanor Watson
Updated on: September 25, 2019 / 3:40 PM / CBS News

The Senate voted again Wednesday to terminate President Trump's declaration of national emergency at the southern border.

Eleven Republican senators joined Democrats in voting to end the emergency declaration. The declaration, issued in February, says that the situation at the southern border is a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens U.S. national security. Mr. Trump made the declaration so that he could unilaterally build a border wall despite the fact that Congress did not appropriate the funds for him to do so. Under the declaration, President Trump diverted funding from congressionally approved military construction projects to pay for border barriers.
The administration has so far reprogrammed about $6.1 billion in funding for the construction of border barriers.
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In March, the Senate voted to reject the emergency declaration, but the president promptly vetoed the measure and instructed the Department of Defense to divert funds for a border wall. The House of Representatives failed to override the veto.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is targeting Republican incumbents who voted against terminating the emergency declaration that diverts money from defense projects in their states.
The DSCC has released two new ads against Arizona Sen. Martha McSally and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who are facing re-election in 2020. Both states stand to lose millions in expenditures due to the diversion of funds, according to estimates from the Department of Defense.
At the time of the initial vote, Congress did not know which defense projects would be affected. Earlier this month, the Department of Defense released a list of projects potentially impacted and several of the projects are in states Democrats are targeting in their effort to flip the Senate.
Editorial boards in Texas and North Carolina have criticized the president's decision to take funds for defense projects in their states to build a border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell blamed Democrats for their refusal to fund border security in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.
"Washington Democrats decided that giving this very real crisis the resources it required might anger the far left which wants them to oppose President Trump at any costs," McConnell said.