Schumer: ‘I Pray That This Moment Is One of Those Times When Members Chose Country Over Party’

By CNSNews.com Staff | March 15, 2019 | 7:40pm EDT
(Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

(CNSNews.com) - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y) said on the Senate floor on Thursday that he was praying that Republican members of the Senate would “choose country over party” and vote to overrule President Donald Trump’s declaration that there is a national emergency at the southern border.

“I hope and I pray that this moment is one of those times when Members choose country over party and when Members rise above politics for the sake of fidelity to our constitutional principles and to this great United States of America,” Schumer said.

 

“In conclusion, on this issue, this is not an everyday moment,” Schumer said “This is not just about going along with this president or that one. This is a red-letter day in the history of how the U.S. Government functions. The judgment of our Founding Fathers and the judgment of history weighs upon this vote.”

After Schumer told the nation what he was praying for, the Senate voted 59 to 41 for the resolution rejecting the president’s national emergency declaration. Twelve Republicans joined all Senate Democrats in voting for the resolution.

The House had voted earlier to approve the resolution.

On Friday, President Trump vetoed the resolution.

“My highest obligation as President is to protect the Nation and its people,” Trump said in his veto message.

“Every day, the crisis on our border is deepening, and with new surges of migrants expected in the coming months, we are straining our border enforcement personnel and resources to the breaking point,” he said.

“H.J. Res. 46 ignores these realities,” Trump said. “It is a dangerous resolution that would undermine United States sovereignty and threaten the lives and safety of countless Americans. It is, therefore, my duty to return it to the House of Representatives without my approval.”

Here is a transcript of part of Schumer’s speech on the Senate floor explaining that he was praying that Republicans would vote against the president’s declaration:

It is our job here, in Congress, to limit executive overreach, to defend our core powers, to prevent a President--any President--from ignoring the will of Congress every time it fails to align with the will of the President. That is what the balance of powers is. That is what checks and balances is. That is what every one of us learned in second grade civics class.

All that teaching in the second grade civics class seems to be lost on so many of my Republican colleagues in blind obeisance to this president, no matter what the consequences.

This is not an issue of the wall. It goes way beyond that. We have had our fights and disputes on the wall for several years here. However you feel about our policy on the southern border and however you feel about the President, Senators should vote yes on the resolution to terminate the emergency declaration.

This resolution is about more than this president. It is about the presidency now and on into the future.

It should not be difficult for any of my Republican colleagues to take this vote. Conservative principles would demand it, and some of the true conservatives, like Mr. Lee, yesterday, understood that logic.

Conservatives have always feared an agglomeration of power in any branch of government, but particularly in the executive branch. The conservative movement has been designed to reduce the powers of the federal government. That is why they are for lowering taxes so much.

All of a sudden, again, because President Trump simply wants it, they say: Let's abandon those principles and vote to change, fundamentally, the way the balance of power works--shame.

If conservatism today is to mean anything, self-branded conservatives should vote to terminate the resolution. Deep-seated principles like that shouldn't take a back seat to the politics of the moment. They should not be abandoned just because the president shares the same party.

Now, let me speak from the heart to my Republican colleagues. I know that President Trump is extremely popular among Republicans for many reasons. I know he commands the vast majority of the Republican Party, and I know that the President never shies away from threatening, bullying, or publicly castigating members of his own party if they refuse to do what he wants.

So, I realize this. It is a much more difficult vote for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to take than for those of us who are Democrats. I would say to them, and I would say to every Republican: There are times when loyalty to America, to our Constitution, to our principles, and to what has made this country great should lead Members to rise above and rise to the occasion.

I hope and I pray that this moment is one of those times when Members choose country over party and when Members rise above politics for the sake of fidelity to our constitutional principles and to this great United States of America.

In conclusion, on this issue, this is not an everyday moment. This is not just about going along with this president or that one. This is a red-letter day in the history of how the U.S. Government functions. The judgment of our Founding Fathers and the judgment of history weighs upon this vote.

 

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