Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas showed enormous courage and laudable independence Thursday when they voted against President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration on a border wall.
The Senate rejected Trump’s emergency by a 59-41 margin. Even though the president vetoed the resolution, the vote sends a powerful message that Congress still matters.
Both Blunt and Moran were part of that consequential declaration. They responded to enormous White House pressure by supporting the Constitution, not government-by-personality.
“I believe the use of emergency powers in this circumstance violates the Constitution,” Moran said in a statement.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Blunt was equally and appropriately concerned about executive overreach. “I was aggressively opposed to the Obama administration’s attempts to circumvent Congress’ appropriating authority to prop up Obamacare,” he said. “The same principle should apply regardless of which party occupies the White House.”
Both are exactly right. Protecting the separation of powers is, or should be, a nonpartisan principle.
Blunt’s vote in particular deserves applause. He is part of the Senate GOP leadership team, and some Missouri Republicans had urged him to back the president.
Yet the senior senator chose to vote his conscience. That’s what his constituents should want.
Sadly, the area’s other two senators — Pat Roberts of Kansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri — chose political expediency by supporting the White House. Roberts is retiring, but Hawley may come to regret his support for the erosion of congressional power.
There may be suggestions in the days ahead that Blunt and Moran will face primary challenges in the future because they had the audacity to oppose the president. We’re confident that both incumbents can defend their votes if opponents make them an issue.
The nation isn’t ruled by executive fiat. The president isn’t above the law. With this vote, Blunt and Moran showed the independence their jobs require.