Senate vote against the president’s emergency declaration happens amid budget battle

La. senators side with Pres. Trump

Senate budget talks

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana’s two U.S. senators did not join some of their fellow Republicans in voting in favor of a resolution to terminate President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration related to border security funding.

Still, 12 other GOP senators did vote yes on the measure that was already approved by the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

"Any fair-minded person who knows a law book from an L.L. Bean catalog understands that the president has this authority,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, after the vote.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, also a Republican, explained his decision to vote no on the resolution.

"I voted to secure our border, protect American citizens, and stop the flow of illegal immigration, gang members, deadly drugs and sex trafficking into our country,” said Cassidy.

But Dillard University political analyst Robert Collins said many Republicans fear the future consequences of the president’s actions.

"They’re afraid of setting the precedent to put this much power within the hands of the president and that would embolden a Democratic president in the future. The second group of Republican senators are simply constitutionalists, and they believe that this gives too much power to the executive branch,” said Collins.

Collins said Republicans who stood up to the president on this issue may do it again.

"Then we’ll see whether or not there will be any retribution from the president, and if there isn’t any retribution then I think that will embolden these senators and then I think you will might see more independence from the Republican senators,” said Collins.

Trump vows to veto the resolution.

Thursday afternoon’s vote came as members of Congress are scrutinizing the president’s 2020 budget proposal. It calls for a nationwide work requirement for adults receiving traditional government-funded Medicaid health coverage.

"The president continues to want to have incentive for people to rejoin the workforce,” said Cassidy.

Cassidy sits on the Senate Finance Committee and the issue came up during a meeting held only hours before the vote on the national emergency resolution.

Democrats oppose tinkering with Medicaid.

"Medicaid isn’t a ‘them’ program, it’s an ‘us’ program. It’s our kids who have disabilities, it’s our seniors, our families,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania.

The Trump administration also wants to eliminate Medicaid expansion, which came about as a result of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and instead send block grants to states.

Medicaid expansion provides coverage to the working poor who do not receive health insurance through their employers but earn too little to purchase health insurance on their own.

"Medicaid is chewing up state budgets and the federal budget,” said Cassidy.

But Casey said Democrats will not allow that proposal to become law.

"We're going to fight this battle, we'll fight your department, we'll fight the administration, we'll fight anyone and we're going to win this battle, so I'd urge you and the president and the budget-meisters to reconsider eliminating Medicaid expansion, to reconsider block-granting,” Casey told the head of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Louisiana’s Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards implemented Medicaid expansion when he took office, and his administration says because of it, close to a half million people in the state have health coverage.

"Within the state of Louisiana, if Medicaid expansion was canceled and replaced with a block grant program, since we know there is a cap on a block grant program it would significantly reduce the actual amount of funding that was available to the program, and so a lot of people would be simply be knocked off of Medicaid,” said Collins.

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