Editorials

Moran, Blunt look for political cover instead of rejecting Trump border emergency

House passes resolution blocking Trump’s national emergency declaration

With a vote of 245 ayes and 182 nays, The House passed a resolution to terminate President Trump's national emergency declaration to build a Mexico-U.S. border wall. The resolution now heads to the Senate for debate in mid-March.
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With a vote of 245 ayes and 182 nays, The House passed a resolution to terminate President Trump's national emergency declaration to build a Mexico-U.S. border wall. The resolution now heads to the Senate for debate in mid-March.

Today, a fraud alert.

Senators were supposed to vote Thursday on a resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s emergency border wall declaration. Democrats and even some Republicans think Trump’s emergency claim is an unconstitutional power grab.

But Republicans don’t want to vote against the president, who really wants a border wall. The White House has been pressuring senators to uphold his emergency.

You can see their dilemma.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah offered a bill to let senators have their cake and eat it, too. His measure would have made it harder for presidents to declare emergencies, but only in the future. It wouldn’t apply to Trump’s wall.

Voila! Senators could endorse Trump’s emergency declaration, then vote for a bill preventing it from ever happening again. Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Jerry Moran of Kansas were co-sponsors.

Any adult will recognize this tactic. It’s like a 6-year-old asking for ice cream before dinner while promising to never, ever, ever do it again.

Late Wednesday, Trump said he would oppose Lee’s bill. That appears to be that.

Good. If Trump’s declaration is unconstitutional, the Senate should reject it. If it’s acceptable, no amount of fig-leafing could prevent future presidents from using the power.

“If we don’t want our president acting like a king, we need to start taking back the legislative powers,” Lee said Tuesday. Here’s a better idea: Quit treating Trump like a king.

Lee’s bill was called the Article One Act. It should have been called the St. Augustine law, for the religious scholar who prayed: “Lord, make me chaste. But not yet.”

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