Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and 11 of his Republican colleagues joined Senate Democrats Thursday in voting against President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration.
In a 59-41 vote, the Senate passed a bill that would terminate Trump’s emergency declaration, though the president has already said he will veto the resolution. Portman announced his intention to vote in line with his Democratic colleagues during a Thursday morning speech on the Senate floor.
“From the outset of this process I’ve had two objectives. One, to support the president on the crisis at the border. I believe his plan to address that crisis is a good one—we should support it. But second, to do it in the right way without setting a dangerous new precedent counter to a fundamental constitutional principle, without tying up the needed funds for the border in the courts, and without taking funds away from important military construction projects for our troops” Portman said.
Portman later said of Ohio, which has “been devastated by the opioid epidemic,” that “over 90 percent of the heroin is coming across the southern border.”
“Yesterday I learned from Customs and Border Protection that fentanyl seizures along the border between the ports of entry has increased by 400 percent between 2016 and 2018,” he continued.
But Portman ultimately concluded that the “president’s use of a national emergency declaration is wrong.”
“I will vote to support the disapproval resolution that is before us,” Portman announced.
Shortly before Portman revealed he would vote against the national emergency declaration, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sat down for an interview with CNN’s “New Day” where he said “there doesn’t seem to be a lot of backbone” in the Republican Party.
“Unfortunately, what I hear from Republican senators for the last two years—really since Trump ran—in the cloakroom or in the Senate floor and in my office or in a committee room, what they say and how they publicly cast their votes have been two different things,” Brown said.
“The White House looks like a retreat for Wall Street executives,” he continued. “A lot of my Republican colleagues are bothered by that—they just don’t vote that way. I’m hoping the approach of the elections in 2020 will lift some of the fear that my Republican colleagues have and maybe they’ll actually grow some backbone when they cast that vote on the Senate floor.”
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