Harrisburg, PA – Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey said Thursday he will vote to block President Trump from using emergency powers to build a wall along the Mexican border.
A Lehigh County Republican, Toomey said he fully supports Trump’s goal of building a wall along the border. He noted that he voted in favor of spending $25 billion on border security, including $18 billion for a wall.
But Toomey said the president’s use of the emergency order undermines the Constitution’s separation of powers and subverts the will of Congress. After a bruising battle that led to a government shutdown, Congress agreed on a compromise on funding for border security.
“The biggest concern is that it’s very, very important that we honor the constitutional responsibility that is assigned to Congress to determine spending,” Toomey said.
Toomey also raised the prospect of a “very dangerous precedent” for future presidents. He specifically cited the possible scenario of a Democratic White House led by Elizabeth Warren issuing a national emergency to combat climate change. Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat, is one of a host of Democrats running for president in 2020.
Toomey joined several Republicans who have opposed Trump’s use of emergency powers to build the wall, one of the primary goals of his administration and a key promise of his presidential campaign. Earlier Thursday, Republican U.S. Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said they would vote to block Trump’s use of the emergency order.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey initially raised concerns that President Trump should not have the authority to declare a state of emergency over funding for a border wall. Toomey said, “I am concerned about whether this really amounts to an attempt to circumvent Congress here.”
Although Toomey supports border security funding, he said he worries about the precedent the move could set.
“There are good reasons that we have checks and balances in our system, there’s good reason that Congress is the branch of government that the Constitution assigns responsibility for spending taxpayer money,” Toomey said. “I want to take a hard look at what the president has announced and then I’ll decide after we’ve had a chance to do that.”
Toomey said he agrees with Trump that some physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border are necessary, but disputes over funding those measures should have been solved legislatively.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey joined Senate Republicans in an unsuccessful vote on a bill to provide additional medical protections if an infant survives an attempted abortion.
It was the latest example of the nuanced position Casey has carved out on reproductive rights throughout his career. He’s one of the few remaining congressional Democrats to describe themselves as pro-life, and one of three Democratic “yes” votes on the matter.
Under the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, medical professionals would be required to provide the same level of care for an infant born after an attempted abortion as they would “for any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” Those who do not would face up to five years in prison.
“I’m a pro-life Democrat, which means I support women and children before and after birth,” Casey said in a statement released by his office.
Casey went on to say that he supports what he described as “funding for Planned Parenthood from far-right attacks.”
Of all U.S. Senators, Democrat Senator Bob Casey received the most money from big Pharma at $121,500. (Big Pharmaceutical companies have corporate campuses in Pennsylvania.)
From the outside looking in, the State of Pennsylvania appears to remain sharply divided by party lines, however upon closer inspection that premise is questionable.
Is there an establishment collusion taking place behind the scenes, or has an unexpected scenario unfolded that could foreshadow future bi-partisan efforts?