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Sen. Rob Portman still hasn’t decided how he’ll vote on President Trump’s emergency declaration

March 4, 2019

Sen. Rob Portman still hasn’t decided how he’ll vote on President Trump’s emergency declaration

WASHINGTON, D. C. - Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll vote to reject President Donald Trump’s border emergency declaration, even as passage in the Senate appears ensured by support from four other Republicans.

“Senator Portman continues to discuss the issue with his colleagues and the administration and will make his decision before the vote,” said Portman spokeswoman Emily Benavides.

Last week, Portman told reporters he was waiting for information on where the money to build the border wall would come from and “whether it sets a precedent that is troubling.”

“I do think that the border is a crisis and we do need to address it,” Portman said, describing an influx human trafficking and drugs coming into the United States from Mexico. “There has to be something done. I agree with the president looking for additional funding ... but I’m uncomfortable at this point saying I’m going to vote ‘Yes.’”

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 245 to 182 to override President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the nation’s southern border, with all Ohio’s Democrats supporting the effort and all Ohio’s Republicans voting in opposition.

House votes to cancel Trump’s ‘national emergency’ on the border; Sen. Rob Portman undecided on the issue

Democrats said they didn’t believe there was an emergency at the border and said Trump’s emergency declaration to get around Congress’ funding decisions created constitutional issues. Republicans said Trump’s decision to declare an emergency at the border was justified to keep drug smugglers, human traffickers and other criminals out of the country.

On Sunday, Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul announced that he’ll vote against Trump’s decision to obtain funding for the border wall by declaring a national emergency, saying in a FoxNews opinion piece “I would literally lose my political soul if I decided to treat President Trump different than President Obama.” Paul said he opposed it when Obama used “executive power to legislate” and he thinks it is wrong for Trump to do so.

“I support President Trump. I supported his fight to get funding for the wall from Republicans and Democrats alike, and I share his view that we need more and better border security,” Paul wrote. “However, I cannot support the use of emergency powers to get more funding, so I will be voting to disapprove of his declaration when it comes before the Senate.”

Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina also said they’d support the resolution, which means it is likely to pass the Senate. But Trump has said he will veto the measure, and it’s unlikely that its backers in the House and Senate will be able to obtain enough votes for an override.