Murkowski explains why she’ll vote to cancel Trump’s emergency

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (2017 photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is speaking out in opposition to President Trump’s emergency declaration to divert money to build a wall on the southern border.

Murkowski said she agrees with the president on the need for more border security.

“But I firmly believe that one can be for border security, strongly for border security, and at the same time question whether the administration has overreached in using the National Emergencies Act in the way that it has,” she said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.  “And I find myself in that camp.”

Murkowski says the issue is one of separation of powers, and the Constitution gives Congress the power to raise and spend money.

“We say it around here: the power of the purse rests with the Congress,” she said.

Murkowski has sponsored a measure to overturn the emergency declaration. She’s the only member of Alaska’s congressional delegation to take that position.

With at least four Republicans on board, Democrats in the Senate appear to have enough votes to cancel the president’s declaration, but not enough to sustain their resolution if he follows through on his promise to veto it.

Supporters of the president say his actions are constitutional because Congress passed the National Emergencies Act, lending its power of the purse to the president when he decides a situation is dire.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at