It’s appearing more and more like President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in order to secure funding for his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border could be in jeopardy, this time from senators in his own party, according to a report in HuffPost. While the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is poised to vote its disapproval of the presidential decree on Tuesday afternoon, to all appearances four Republican senators may well defect from the party line and vote against the declaration.
Three Republican senators are already on record saying they will vote for a resolution of disapproval, and a fourth GOP lawmaker from the upper chamber has signaled he could go against the president on the issue. Thus far Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have said they will vote against approving the emergency declaration, while Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi has said he is likely to vote that way. With a thin majority in the Senate of only 51-47 over the Democrats, Trump’s Republicans only need four senators to vote against the declaration to derail the bill. However, even if both the Senate and the House vote for a resolution of disapproval, it is unlikely that both chambers could muster the two-thirds majority votes to override a presidential veto.
Still, many observers suggest that even as many as four Republicans signaling their willingness to go against the president’s signature campaign promise and one that has caused such a tremendous expenditure of political capital over the past few weeks and months could be a sign that Trump’s power to corral his party is on the wane.
“I would be inclined to vote for the resolution of disapproval,” Sen. Wicker said earlier this month. “I think it’s bad law and I think it’s bad strategy for the president.”
But a Washington Post op-ed penned by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and published on Monday suggested that the Republican may join the other three likely defectors. Sen. Tillis wrote that such a vote would not be a question of loyalty to Trump, but rather one of the separation of powers and putting a halt to “…the kind of executive overreach that Congress has allowed to fester for the better part of the past century.”
Republicans who remain loyal to Trump on the issue are now defending the same type of executive overreach they decried when Obama was president. However, some Republicans suggest that Trump’s actions on bypassing Congress to get funding for his border wall could set a precedent by which a future Democratic president might, for instance, declare a national emergency on gun control.
Once the House passes their resolution of disapproval and sends it to the Senate, any senator can bring it to the floor for a vote after 15 days, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be helpless to block it.