Republicans in Congress are still looking for their path to undo President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration after a bill to do so passed through both houses of Congress and was the president’s first veto, The Hill reported.
“It’s an institutional issue, it’s a congressional authorities issue. We have the power of the purse,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) according to The Hill. “Under the National Emergencies Act, there was too much latitude that was given away … and we need to pull that back some and let it be used for legitimate national security purposes.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) agreed with Portman, and added that he believes there is “unanimity” among Republicans about changing laws, thanks to Trump’s declaration which was an effort to fund the border wall.
Even the Senators that didn’t vote to shut down the emergency declaration are concerned about the issue of playing fast and loose with the traditional interpretation of the law.
“I would like to revisit the emergency powers that Congress has provided to the executive branch,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who voted with Trump. “I do think it’s going to be a healthy debate to have.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters there was “a lot of discomfort with the law” among Republicans and that they were “discussing” ways it could be altered, according to The Hill.
“If Congress has grown uneasy with this law, as many have, then we should amend it. If the 116th Congress regrets the degree of flexibility that the 94th Congress gave the executive, the 116th Congress can do something about it,” McConnell added separately during a floor speech, announcing that he had asked Johnson to look into legislation on the issue.
Legislation brought forward by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would require Congress to pass a resolution approving future national emergency declarations within 30 days, or be terminated, already has the backing of about one-third of Republicans.
“I don’t know of any president that likes to give up power, but clearly Congress has been asleep at the switch,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who voted with Trump but is supporting Lee’s legislation.