Smucker, Perry vote against measure to block Trump's national emergency

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Republican incumbent candidates Scott Perry, left, and Lloyd Smucker greet each other during an appearance by Vice President Mike Pence who rallied at the Lancaster Airport in Lititz Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include comments from Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster.

The two Republicans representing York County in the U.S. House on Tuesday opposed a measure to block President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration, which cleared the lower chamber with sweeping Democratic support.

The Tuesday, Feb. 26, negative votes from Reps. Scott Perry, R-Carroll Township, and Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, were mostly in line with their Republican colleagues. The measure passed the Democrat-controlled chamber by a 245-182 vote, with the support of 13 Republican

The Senate now must vote on the bill within 18 days, but even so, Trump has vowed to veto it.

Perry didn't respond to inquiries seeking comment, but Smucker reiterated on Wednesday his previous position that Trump acted within his authority.

“As I’ve said before, the president has made a strong case for a national emergency declaration at our border," Smucker said "He is acting within his authority and I still support his decision to declare an emergency on the southern border."

More:Toomey displeased with Trump's border emergency, breaks with Smucker, Perry

Trump's Feb. 15 declaration would reallocate billions in additional funding for his long-promised border wall to supplement the $1.37 billion included in a spending bill he signed beforehand.

However, the resolution's backers have said the declaration was an unconstitutional power grab that trampled on Congress' power over spending. Trump's supporters contend that there are humanitarian and drug crises at the southern border that make Trump's declaration legal. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday he hasn't yet determined himself whether the declaration is legal in the first place, The Hill reported.

Two Senate Republicans have confirmed they will support the legislation to throttle Trump's declaration, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has said she's on the fence. If she were to vote yes, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., could be the tie-breaker, as a majority in the Senate would require four Republicans to vote with Democrats. 

Toomey has said previously that the border wall financing in the spending bill wasn't "optimal" but that a declaration isn't the way to acquire additional funding.

"I am concerned about the president’s emergency declaration, and I am still considering how I will vote on a resolution of disapproval," he said ahead of the House vote Tuesday.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., speaks in April at the York County SPCA. Toomey has joined other senators in co-sponsoring a bill to subject the president’s trade actions to congressional approval.

Republicans have in the past criticized executive overreach. But reaching the two-thirds threshold to override Trump's promised veto, 67 votes in the Senate, including 20 Republicans, is considered a long shot. The House would need 290 votes, including 55 Republicans, to override it in the House.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said he will most likely be voting for the measure when it reaches the Senate. Casey has previously called the declaration an abuse of power, adding there's nearly $200 million approved by Congress for military construction projects in the state that could suffer under the declaration.

“The president’s egregious use of a national emergency to build his wall could have severe implications for our military — including projects here in Pennsylvania," Casey said.

The 32nd active emergency in the U.S. would divert $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction projects on top of the president tapping $2.5 billion from counter-narcotics programs and $600 million from the Treasury Department's asset forfeiture fund.

Trump was greeted with lawsuits from 16 different states — Pennsylvania wasn't one of them — just three days after he declared the emergency. Other organizations also filed lawsuits, including the American Civil Liberties Union.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.