WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLOX) - Among the 59 U.S. Senators who voted Thursday to reject President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwest border was Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker.
Wicker voted for H. J. Res. 46, a resolution of disapproval for the national emergency declared by the president Feb. 15.
“I had very cordial conversations with the president yesterday and this morning. I shared with him that I strongly support his plan to build walls on our southern border, but that an emergency declaration was the wrong approach," Wicker said in a written statement. "The president already has almost $6 billion available that can be used to build border walls. For over 20 years in the House and Senate, I have voted for funds to build more than 600 miles of border structure, and I look forward to working with President Trump on additional border security measures.”
Wicker cosponsored legislation to provide for affirmative Congressional consent for future emergency declarations. He also supported negotiations that would have advanced the President’s border plans while preventing future overreach. Senators and the White House negotiated until late Wednesday night, but an agreement could not be reached.
“I am concerned about the precedent an emergency declaration sets, which might empower a future liberal president to declare emergencies to enact gun control or to address ‘climate emergencies,’ or even to tear down the wall we are building today," Wicker added.
In a measure of how remarkable the confrontation was, Thursday was the first time Congress has voted to block a presidential emergency since the National Emergency Act became law in 1976.
“I regret that we were not able to find a solution that would have averted a challenge to the balance of power as defined by the Constitution," Wicker said. “The system of checks and balances established by the Founders has preserved our democracy. It is essential that we protect this balance even when it is frustrating or inconvenient.”
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith voted against H. J. Res. 46, saying “the president is justified in exercising his statutory authorities under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which gives him the latitude to declare a national emergency specifically to implement an existing border security law that was enacted with broad bipartisan support.”
With the Democratic-controlled House’s approval of the same resolution last month, it will now be put before the president for consideration.