Editorial: Veto shows how Washington is supposed to work
President Trump has signed his name on a lot of things since taking office.
Executive orders. Bills he signed into law. Bibles for fans in tornado-torn Alabama.
For the first time in his presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives stood together and denied him something he wanted. In this case, it was the national emergency Trump declared that would allow him to shuffle billions in congressionally appropriated funds to pay for a southern border wall that was a key campaign promise.
Twelve Republican senators joined with the Democrats to tell the president “no.” Both Pennsylvania senators — Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey — approved the resolution and stood opposed to the White House.
Regardless of whether anyone supports the wall on the Mexican border or believes we need less structure and more support on that front, we should applaud what happened with the resolution — and the veto.
Because that’s how the system is supposed to work.
For too long, Washington has devolved into short cuts in the process.
Bills have only been brought up for debate if the leadership had already counted up the votes and decided whether they would pass. They have forgotten that the debate is the point. The debate is where those 435 people in the House and those 100 in the Senate are supposed to set aside their preconceptions and prejudices and listen to the arguments of their friends and their enemies alike.
Like juries, they are supposed to be open to the facts as presented and the oratory of statesmen — if we have any left.
Votes are not supposed to be poker chips traded off the floor in back room games we don’t see. They are definitely not supposed to be something that is automatically assumed because of party.
We are supposed to have ideas that become bills that spark conversation and thought before dying on the floor or being passed and sent to the White House to become law or be vetoed. That happened, and that’s a good thing.
It isn’t over yet. Maybe the House will find the two-thirds majority it needs to quash the president’s veto. Maybe they won’t and it will stand. Again, either way, that is how it is supposed to work, and whatever happens, that’s a positive.
Because Washington has forgotten the rules for quite a while. Maybe Trump’s first veto will help them all remember.