Roberts, Moran split in Senate vote on POTUS national emergency declaration

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(CBS/WIBW) - In a rebuke of the president, the Senate voted 59-41 to pass legislation Thursday afternoon rejecting President Trump's national emergency declaration concerning the U.S.-Mexico border.

The President responded with a one-word tweet: "VETO!"

Twelve Republicans, including Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, joined Democrats in voting to pass the resolution.

“President Trump is correct, there is a need for better border security,” Sen. Moran wrote in a statement explaining his vote. “I believe the use of emergency powers in this circumstance violates the Constitution. Allowing the use of such power establishes a precedent for future presidents to further act against laws and appropriations approved by Congress. This continues our country down the path of all powerful executive – something those who wrote the Constitution were fearful of.”

Kansas' other senator, fellow Republican Pat Roberts, sided with the President in voting against the resolution.

“I agree with the president’s assessment that we have reached a crisis point at the border, and this is nothing new," Roberts said. "For many years, control of our southern border has been a fundamental failure of our first obligation to protect the national security of the United States.”

The president issued his emergency declaration as a way to free up funding to build his long-promised wall along the southern border after Congress refused to provide the $5 billion he originally requested. New budget requests now put that total dollar amount at over $8 billion.

While the bill now moves to the president's desk, Mr. Trump will likely move to issue his fist veto of his presidency thus far after tweeting Thursday morning that he was "prepared" to do so if necessary.

He later told reporters in an Oval Office ceremony, "I'll probably have to veto. And it's not going to be overturned. And we're going to have our whole thing. It's been — the legal scholars all say it's totally constitutional. It's very important it's really a border security vote. It's pure and simple it's a vote for border security, it's a vote for no crime."

The House passed its version of the resolution last week, largely along party lines.

Leading up to Thursday's vote, many senators, including Republicans, called out the president's order as an abuse of emergency powers, claiming it could set a dangerous precedent.

"It's a question about the balance of power that is core to our constitution," Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters on Thursday. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, in speech on the senate floor echoed his colleague, saying "This declaration is a dangerous precedent."

In an apparent flip, just moments before the senate's vote, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, announced that he would vote against the resolution -- a change in his position from when he wrote in an opinion piece for the Washington Post that he could not support the national emergency declaration. Tillis had written that as a conservative he couldn't endorse a precedent that "future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies."

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told his colleagues, "The beauty of this government demands that we rise to the occasion this afternoon."

"Let's keep our government with the same balance of power that has served us so well for the past two centuries," he added.

Full list of Republicans who voted in support of the resolution of disapproval:

Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine
Sen. Mike Lee, Utah
Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky
Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio
Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah
Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida
Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania
Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi