Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Monday that he expects a vote in the Senate to block President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in order to acquire funding for the planned border wall project. According to a report from The Hill, the Kentucky Republican — and frequent supporter of the president — added that he does not believe the upper chamber has sufficient votes to override an expected presidential veto, however.
“I think what is clear in the Senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the House,” McConnell said.
Sen. McConnell’s announcement came on the heels of reports that there are grumblings among Republican lawmakers who are growing tired of the ongoing standoff between the president and Congress over his much-promised wall at the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Trump’s demand for funding for the wall — and threats of initiating another government shutdown — have reportedly torn apart the Republican caucus at the seams, a fracture that was kept under the surface until recently.
Over the weekend, Kentucky’s other senator, Sen. Rand Paul, announced that he will vote against the Republican president on the wall funding issue. His position was supported by Republican Sen. John Kennedy, who told reporters that he doesn’t think Trump has the votes to win a straight vote in the senate, and that he is “probably rethinking the situation.”
Another apparent Republican defector from the Trump program was Sen. Lamar Alexander, who took the extraordinary step of publicly calling for Trump to reconsider.
“There is time for the president’s lawyers to take another look and determine whether we can both build the 234 miles of border wall that the president has requested and avoid this dangerous precedent,” Alexander said on the floor of the Senate. While most Republicans are loath to cross Trump, they are concerned that if a precedent is set for presidents to use their emergency declaration powers to bypass Congress in this way, it could come back to haunt them the next time a Democrat is in the White House.
Some of the Republican senators who have publicly said they will vote for the resolution of disapproval blocking Trump’s use of the emergency declaration — at least temporarily — are Sens. Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Lisa Murkowski, and Thom Tillis.
McConnell announced that the Senate will vote on the resolution before taking a scheduled week-long recess.
For his part, McConnell was careful to avoid conflict on either side of the issue, saying he was voting for the president’s emergency declaration, but adding that he was “hoping he wouldn’t take that particular path.”