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What they're saying: Republicans justify their national emergency votes

Sen. Ben Sasse. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Republican senators justified their votes on President Trump's national emergency on Thursday, with some defending their support of the U.S.-Mexico border wall funding, and others using their vote to express concern about government overreach.

The big picture: Despite the 12 Republicans who joined Democrats in their vote against the national emergency, the final vote fell short of the required 2/3 needed to override a veto. Trump tweeted Thursday following the vote that he "looks forward to VETOING" the resolution.

Yays: Voted to block emergency declaration

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn): "I support the president on border security. I have urged him to build the 234 miles of border wall he has asked for in the fastest possible way by using $5.7 billion already approved by Congress. But his declaration to take an additional $3.6 billion that Congress has appropriated for military hospitals, barracks and schools is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I swore an oath to support and defend ... This declaration is a dangerous precedent."
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) "I take very seriously my oath to uphold the Constitution, and my respect for the balance within the separation of powers ... When the executive branch goes around the express intention of Congress on matters within its jurisdiction, we must speak up or legislative acquiescence will erode our constitutional authority."
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.): "I stand with President Trump on the need for a border wall and stronger border security, but the Constitution clearly states that money cannot be spent unless Congress has passed a law to do so."

Nays: Voted not to block the emergency declaration

  • Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.): "A humanitarian and security crisis exists along our southern border that requires immediate action. It is in our national interest to secure the border ... The president's use of an authority in existing law will fund the construction of a strong border security system that will be a deterrent to those who seek to illegally enter our country."
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.): "Congress gave the president the power to take such action in order to provide for our national security and keep Americans safe, so this isn't about whether or not the president is acting within his rights or about the separation of powers. This vote was about whether or not we agree that there is a crisis at the southern border and whether or not we believe the president should have the tools to fix it..."
  • Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.): "I voted against the resolution because I read the declaration and I read the statutes, and I am confident POTUS is within his constitutional and statutory authority."
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas): "This was a difficult vote. I understand my colleagues' real concerns regarding the vast emergency powers that Congress has given the President over the last half-century ... We cannot end this emergency without securing our southern border, and we cannot secure our border without building the wall."
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