U.S. President Donald Trump, left, talks to the press as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) looks on after the Republican luncheon at the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

McConnell confirms Senate has votes to disapprove of Trump’s emergency declaration

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said senators were still looking into whether the joint resolution to stop President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration can be amended.

But the Kentucky Republican also said he anticipated the Senate would pass the measure disapproving of the border security emergency.

“I was one of those hoping the president would not take the national emergency route,” McConnell said Monday at the federal courthouse in Louisville. “Once he decided to do that, I said I would support it, but I was hoping he wouldn’t take that particular path.”

“I think what is clear in the Senate is there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval which will then be vetoed by the president, and then in all likelihood, the veto will be upheld in the House.”

Asked specifically if the resolution could be amended by the Senate, McConnell suggested it remained an unsettled question procedural, since the disapproval provisions of the National Emergencies Act have not been invoked before in this fashion.

“It’s never been done before,” he said. “We’ve been looking at, and talking to the parliamentarian about what options there are, if any.”

Over the weekend, McConnell’s home state colleague Sen. Rand Paul announced that he was opposed to the emergency declaration, citing an infringement on the congressional power of the purse.

Paul’s support for the resolution to block the national emergency put it over the threshold for passage, and it would be no surprise if more Senate Republicans joined in pushing back at the president on this specific subject.

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