Senate Passes Border Security Plan To Prevent Another Shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks about a bipartisan border security compromise negotiated by congressional leaders at the U.S. Capitol on February 12, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill on Thursday to avert a second government shutdown, according to Time. The bill provides partial funding for barriers along the U.S-Mexico border, but doesn’t provide anywhere near the $5.7 billion that Donald Trump demanded and ultimately shut the government down over.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly, 83-16, to pass the $333 billion spending measure. The bill is expected to pass the house later tonight, sending it to Trump’s desk for approval, just in time to avert another shutdown.

Progressive Senators Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren all voted against the bill. Conservative Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee also voted against it.

Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth urged the president to sign the measure, noting that it provided funding to secure the border.

“This bipartisan deal responsibly includes funding to secure our border with the use of 21st century technology w/out wasting billions on the medieval border wall Donald Trump promised Mexico would pay for,” she wrote on Twitter. “I urge the President to sign it into law ASAP to prevent another shutdown.”

The White House announced that the president would sign the bill, immediately followed by the news that Trump would declare a national emergency in order to fund the full wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he would support the declaration.

The announcement was immediately met with pushback from people on both sides of the aisle. Conservative lawmaker Marco Rubio called the move unconstitutional.

“We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution,” Rubio said

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a democrat from California, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement denouncing the move as a “lawless act” and abuse of the presidential power, according to CBS News.

Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers also spoke out against the president’s plan.

“I do not support this decision because declaring a national emergency sets a very dangerous precedent that undermines our constitutional separation of powers,” McMorris Rodgers said.

She added that she was concerned a President Bernie Sanders or President Elizabeth Warren would use the same emergency powers to pass laws like the Green New Deal, a bill introduced by liberal lawmakers to address climate change.

Pelosi also noted on Thursday that she would consider filing a legal challenge against the president if he chose to declare a national emergency in order to build the wall. She pointed out that she believes the immigration challenges facing the U.S. are a “humanitarian challenge” and not an actual emergency and should be addressed as such through the traditional legal channels.