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Marco Rubio, Rick Scott split on national emergency rejection resolution

‘This would create a precedent a future president may abuse,’ Rubio said.

As Congress’ rejection of President Donald Trump‘s border wall national emergency declaration heads toward his veto pen, the resolution carries the support of Florida’s Republican senior U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who was one of 12 Republicans to vote yes, and the opposition of Florida’s Republican junior U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who voted no.

Thursday afternoon’s 59-41 Senate vote was enough to send a strong message to the White House that a significant bipartisan majority in Congress rejects the emergency, but still retains enough friendly Trump votes to allow his expected veto to carry the day. The resolution was approved 245-182 by the Democratic-controlled House.

In explaining his cross-over vote, Rubio said he thinks there is an emergency but not the kind that requires the President to assume special powers.

“We have an emergency at our border, which is why I support the president’s use of forfeiture funds and counter-drug money to build a wall. However, I cannot support moving funds that Congress explicitly appropriated for construction and upgrades of our military bases,” Rubio said in a written statement. “This would create a precedent a future President may abuse to jumpstart programs like the Green New Deal, especially given the embrace of socialism we are seeing on the political left.”

Scott stood firmer with Trump and did not express any worry about constitutional precedents.

“For years, everyone in both parties has said they want to secure our border, but they never did anything about it,” he said in a written statement explaining his no vote. “It’s time to get serious about border security and the safety of American families. That’s why I support the President’s efforts to secure the border and voted against the resolution of disapproval today.”

As if to press his position that there is an emergency at America’s southern border, Rubio also announced he has introduced a bill that includes $3.6 million to address border security, though it does not include any money for the wall.

Rubio’s proposed  Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Border Security and Disaster Relief Act of 2019, sweetens the deal for Florida and elsewhere by also providing nearly $15 billion to respond to 2018 natural disasters including Hurricane Michael, plus another $2.4 billion for Air Force bases, including Tyndall Air Force Base which was wiped out by Hurricane Michael; and another $610 million for nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico as follow-up aid for Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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