Oklahoma senators plan to back Trump on border security vote
U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford plan to back President Donald Trump on Thursday and vote against a resolution to rescind the president's emergency declaration on border security.
The two Republicans said they agree with the president that the flow of people to the southern border of the United States is an emergency.
"I'm one of the rare individuals who believes we have to really, honestly do something about our border," Inhofe, of Tulsa, said in an interview on Wednesday.
Lankford, of Oklahoma City, said during a telephone town hall meeting on Monday, “I do believe it’s an emergency on the border. … It’s a huge humanitarian crisis for us.’’
Trump declared an emergency at the border in February after a weeks-long standoff with Congress got him far less money for a border wall than he had sought. The emergency declaration would allow him to tap some federal accounts for more border wall money.
The House voted two weeks ago to rescind the emergency, with 13 Republicans joining 232 Democrats. Some Senate Republicans are expected to join with Democrats and vote against Trump's action on Thursday, possibly enough to force the president to veto the resolution.
Inhofe said he understood the argument that an emergency declaration should be reserved for a disaster.
"And I thought there are so many people just openly opposing the president on anything he does that he has to take some steps that aren't orthodox or normally a good idea," Inhofe said. "They kind of put the president in the position that he took a step that under normal circumstances might be considered to be not appropriate."
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The emergency declaration would allow the president to tap military construction money that had already been earmarked for projects in states. Inhofe said he had been assured by the Pentagon that no funds he secured for constructions projects in Oklahoma would be vulnerable.
Opponents of Trump’s emergency declaration say the president is trying to bypass Congress’ constitutional authority to appropriate money. Lankford said Monday he believes the president has the authority to declare an emergency and tap accounts, including military construction money, to build a wall.
Families and unaccompanied minors are coming to the southern border in numbers far above any time in recent history and posing enormous challenges for the United States, Lankford said.