Sasse Takes Heat for Siding With Trump on National Emergency Vote, Says He Wouldn’t Go Along With Pelosi

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Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) took shots from both sides of the political aisle after he sided with President Donald Trump in the vote to oppose the president’s national emergency declaration at the border.

Sasse caught some people off guard when he voted against the resolution to stop the president’s national emergency declaration because Sasse isn’t exactly pro-Trump and is really opposed to executive branch overreach. He regularly criticizes Congress for passing the buck to the Supreme Court or the White House when they face moments of gridlock, as IJR reported previously.

Still, Sasse voted with Trump to allow the president to declare a national emergency to build a wall on the southern border. After the vote, Sasse released a statement explaining why he sided with Trump despite not approving of the National Emergencies Act itself.

“We have an obvious crisis at the border — everyone who takes an honest look at the spiking drug and human trafficking numbers knows this — and the President has a legal path to a rapid response under the National Emergencies Act of 1976 (NEA). I think that law is overly broad and I want to fix it, but at present Nancy Pelosi doesn’t, so I am therefore voting against her politically motivated resolution.”

The senator echoed a point made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday when she explained that she didn’t want to limit the power of the NEA but rather that she wanted to limit Trump’s power to use the NEA, a moment IJR covered earlier.

Sasse explained that he would be working with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on a larger overhaul of the National Emergencies Act to repeal some of the powers Congress passed off to the executive branch.

“As a constitutional conservative, I believe that the NEA currently on the books should be narrowed considerably,” Sasse said. “That’s why I’m an original sponsor of Senator Lee’s legislation, and that’s why I’ve repeatedly gone to the White House to seek support for NEA reform.”

Despite his points on Pelosi and his support for Lee’s NEA overhaul, Sasse still faced critics. Several took to Twitter to slam the senator for his vote, claiming it was only to bolster his re-election odds.

In his statement, Sasse acknowledged that this vote wouldn’t solve the problems he aims to fix in Congress.

“Today’s resolution doesn’t fix anything because the root problem here can’t be fixed with bare-knuckled politics but rather with a deliberate debate about the powers that Congress has been giving away and that the Executive has therefore claimed,” Sasse explained.

For now, Trump has made it clear that he will veto the resolution. This will be the first veto of his presidency.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump signaled that he would be open to further reforms of the NEA after he secured the power to move forward at the border. It isn’t yet clear if the NEA reforms could pass Congress, especially considering Pelosi and House Democrats don’t seem interested.

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James

I find it strange that the National Emergency Act has worked for FIVE Presidents over 43 years with 58 total declarations issued (31 remain in effect); but all of a sudden it is not supposed to work as designed for Trump? Where is the equal justice for THIS Republican Chief… Read more »

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