NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

U.S. Senate votes to keep the federal government funded through September 2019

The United States Senate voted today to keep the federal government funded and open for business for most of the rest of the year, acting under the assumption that Donald Trump will (reluctantly) sign a bipartisan appropriations bill recently negotiated by House Democrats and Senate Republicans.

The vote in favor of invoking cloture on House Joint Resolution 31 was eighty-four to fifteen and the vote on final passage was eighty-three to sixteen.

The roll call from the Pacific Northwest on final passage was as follows:

Voting Aye: Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell (WA); Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT); Republican Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (ID); Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski (AK); Steve Daines (MT)

The senators who voted no were a mix of Democrats and Republicans, and all of them were from states outside of the Pacific Northwest.

Democratic presidential candidates voting no

  • Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Cory Booker of New Jersey
  • Kamala Harris of California
  • Kristen Gillibrand of New York

Other Democrats voting no

  • Ed Markey of Massachusetts

Republicans voting no

  • Michael Braun of Indiana
  • Tom Cotton of Arkansas
  • Ted Cruz of Texas
  • James Inhofe of Oklahoma
  • Mike Lee of Utah
  • Rand Paul of Kentucky
  • Josh Hawley of Missouri
  • Marco Rubio of Florida
  • Ben Sasse of Nebraska
  • Tim Scott of South Carolina
  • Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

In addition to signing HJR 31, Mitch McConnell says Donald Trump will declare a national emergency in order to divert funding to constructing a wall on the country’s border with Mexico, a move Democrats say is a total abuse of power.

“The president’s declaration is an alarming and legally dubious attempt to sidestep the constitutional authority granted to Congress, the co-equal branch of government where debates over immigration reform and border security can be held openly in the light of day,” said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.

“There was a time when Republicans and Democrats were willing to sit at the table and discuss comprehensive immigration reform,” the Governor added.

“Under this administration, those discussions have given way to unilateral and reprehensible actions that separate families, imprison children and launch tear-gas attacks on exhausted mothers and families. This declaration doesn’t do a single thing to make our nation safer. All it does is further divide Americans, erode our system of checks and balances, and advance the president’s agenda of fear and misinformation. We should all be outraged by this president’s abuse of power.”

“For President Trump to declare a state of emergency and circumvent Congress and the American people based on lies and a manufactured crisis is an outrageous, horrific, and un-American abuse of power and I can only hope that he listens to people across the country and reverses course immediately,” said Patty Murray.

“The idea that the President not being able to pass his wasteful wall spending through Congress — a wall that he promised Mexico would pay for and that wouldn’t even be built for years — constitutes an ‘emergency’ is absolutely absurd and deeply wrong. Democrats and Republicans agree on the need to invest in responsible border security and tackle very real humanitarian issues, but there is absolutely no ‘emergency’ and absolutely no justification for President Trump to use this as an excuse to violate our Constitution and laws.”

“If President Trump takes this unprecedented step, every American who believes in the Constitution and the separation of powers in our great republic should be shocked and angry. If President Trump opens the door to presidents declaring fake emergencies to fund spending they can’t persuade the people’s representatives in Congress to support, then a dangerous precedent has been set that puts our country on a slippery and very dangerous slope.”

“What would stop this president from declaring another emergency the next time he wants to do something that Congress doesn’t want? This is not the way our government is supposed to work, and this is not remotely what was intended when these emergency authorities were created. I am going to stand with Democrats, Republicans, and every American who is concerned by this and we will fight back.”

“While President Trump is threatening to move forward with this un-American and unconstitutional maneuver, today Democrats and Republicans in Congress once again did their job by hammering out a bipartisan compromise that rejected President Trump’s wasteful border wall and instead invests in our national priorities and avoids another completely unnecessary shutdown.”

“On behalf of federal workers and families in Washington state and around the country, President Trump must sign this bipartisan bill to avoid another Trump Shutdown — and he must listen to the will of the people and not take unilateral and unconstitutional action to violate this bipartisan agreement.”

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