Few House Republicans appear ready to defyPresident TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publiclyUS-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in picturesOvernight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wallMOREby backing a resolution that would stop his emergency declaration to build a wall on the Mexican border.
As SpeakerNancy PelosiNancy Patricia D’Alesandro PelosiOn The Money: Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump emergency declaration | Banks made billion in extra profits thanks to GOP tax law | IRS analyst charged with leaking Cohen’s financial recordsCoast Guard lieutenant accused of planning domestic terrorism denied bailInviting Kim Jong Un to WashingtonMORE(D-Calif.) tees up a floor vote on a resolution to block Trump’s unilateral move, most Republicans are set to line up in defense of their White House ally — despite some publicly voiced concerns about his action.
The reasons are both practical and political.
With Democrats in control of the lower chamber, Republicans are powerless to block the disapproval resolution, which Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) introduced in the House on Friday morning.
Perhaps more importantly, polls indicate that Trump’s declaration enjoys the overwhelming support of Republican voters, leaving GOP lawmakers no cover to buck the president — particular on his signature issue of border security.
If some have lingering reservations about the move’s legality — or the possibility Trump could use dollars headed toward their districts to construct the wall — there’s little sense they want to invite a primary challenge next year.
“As long as Trump’s popularity with Republican voters remains in the high 80s to low 90s, it’s hard to see how the political laws of nature will change,” said Doug Heye, a former House GOP leadership aide and former spokesman at the Republican National Committee.
Case in point: Rep.Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsTexas GOP rep opposes Trump’s use of national emergency to get border wallCongress starts first day of shutdown with modest hopeSenate agrees to last-ditch talks, but no clear path over shutdownMORE. At a town hall this week, the Texas Republican was asked by a constituent if he supported Trump’s emergency declaration.
“No,” he replied to applause in the room, according to theAustin American-Statesman. Williams said he feared Trump’s wall strategy — which taps $3.6 billion earmarked for military construction projects — could steal federal funds away from Fort Hood in his central Texas district.
His response triggered a wave of headlines highlighting Williams’s opposition to Trump; Democrats pointed to Williams as evidence that even his usual supporters believed the president had gone too far. But just hours after his appearance in Bee Cave, Texas, the congressman posted a series of tweets making absolutely clear that he was in Trump’s corner and would not be joining the Democrats in their resolution of disapproval.
Trump took executive action, Williams argued, because Congress failed to adequately secure the border. And he said acting Defense SecretaryPatrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanOvernight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wallPentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for Trump’s border wallTrump, Erdogan hold phone call ahead of US-Turkey military meetingMOREhad assuaged some of his concerns by pledging that military housing money would not be touched by the Trump administration.
“I fully support @POTUS’ efforts to secure the border — including using an emergency declaration — following the clear intentions of the Democrats to simply kick the can down the road and play politics with the safety of Americans,” Williams tweeted.
Earlier this month, five House Republicans with military bases in their backyards — Rep.Richard HudsonRichard Lane HudsonDon’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wallAssault weapons ban push tests Dem supportHouse Dems make gun control action an early priorityMORE(N.C.),Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeGOP dismisses polls showing losing battle on shutdownBottom LineDems hit GOP on health care with additional ObamaCare lawsuit voteMORE(Okla.),Mike TurnerMichael Ray TurnerOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrantsDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminantsGOP announces members who will serve on House intel panelMORE(Ohio),Doug LambornDouglas (Doug) LambornDon’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wallGOP lawmakers protest LGBT protections in new NAFTA dealOvernight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set ‘stringent’ oversight on North Korea talksMORE(Colo.) andChris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 raceHouse Dems release 2020 GOP ‘retirements to watch’ forFighting AIDS domestically and globally means pushing more evidence-based servicesMORE(N.Y.) — sent a joint letter pleading with Trump not to use previously allocated military-construction funds to build his wall. But none have pledged to sign onto the Democratic resolution.
Former Armed Services ChairmanMac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryPentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for Trump’s border wallOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrantsTrump defends using DOD funds on border wall: ‘Some of the generals think that this is more important’MORE(R-Texas) has also been apprehensive about Trump’s plan to “reprogram” military funding to build his long sought border wall. Such a shift, he warned, “would have detrimental consequences for our troops.”
Yet Thornberry, too, is placing much of the blame on the Democrats, accusing them of “stonewalling” on wall funding for political ends — a signal that he’s hardly prepared to endorse a formal rebuke of the president.
Even Rep.Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declarationGOP rep: Trump emergency declaration puts US in ‘uncharted territory’Immigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border securityMORE(R-Texas), a border-district immigration reformer who’s warning that Trump’s declaration “sets a terrible precedent,” is dodging questions about whether he’ll support the disapproval resolution.
“I’m always open to making sure that Congress takes back some of this power as a coequal branch of government,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. “And I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of conversations.”
Across the Capitol, the dynamics are different. Senators represent entire states, not smaller districts gerrymandered into partisan enclaves. And there’s plenty of pressure on some GOP senators to support the disapproval resolution when it’s sent over by the House.
The Hill identified 10 GOP senators who could break with Trump on the issue, including Sens.Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump’s emergency declarationGOP Sen. Collins says she’ll back resolution to block Trump’s emergency declarationThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY TimesMORE(Alaska),Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY TimesThe 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergencyDems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splintersMORE(N.C.),Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerInviting Kim Jong Un to WashingtonDems face tough vote on Green New DealThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY TimesMORE(Colo.) andMitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGOP lawmaker comes out against Trump’s emergency declarationWarren’s national child care proposal has an ObamaCare problemDem strategist says former GOP spokeswoman will be ‘an asset’ to CNNMORE(Utah).
But it’s far from clear the measure stopping Trump’s emergency declaration will clear the Senate.
So far,the only Republican in Congress vowing to join Democratsis centrist Sen.Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOn The Money: Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump emergency declaration | Banks made billion in extra profits thanks to GOP tax law | IRS analyst charged with leaking Cohen’s financial recordsSenate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump’s emergency declarationThe Hill’s Morning Report – What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds downMOREof Maine. She is expected to face a tough reelection in 2020 and has said she both supports a lawsuit challenging the president’s action and will vote for the Democratic-led resolution.
The disapproval resolution is deemed “privileged” under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which both guarantees a vote in the Senate and precludes opponents from blocking it with a filibuster. That means Senate Democrats, who are expected to stand together, will need to win support from at least three additional Republicans to send the resolution to Trump, who has vowed a swift veto. Neither chamber is expected to reach the two-thirds majority threshold to override a veto.
Following Pelosi’s lead, Senate Minority LeaderChuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for DemocratsNational emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to winHouse Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump’s national emergency declarationMORE(D-N.Y.) said Thursday that his caucus will soon roll out an identical companion resolution to the House legislation to stop Trump.
“This issue transcends partisan politics, and I urge all senators — Democrats and Republicans — to support this resolution to terminate the president’s emergency declaration when it comes up for a vote in the Senate,” Schumer said Thursday.
Announced last Friday, Trump’s emergency declaration came after a months-long budget standoff over the president’s demand for $5.7 billion for new wall construction — a non-starter for Democrats. The impasse led to a five-week government closure, the longest in the country’s history, and GOP leaders — hoping to avoid another damaging shutdown — pressured Trump last week to sign a spending package without the wall funding.
The emergency order was Trump’s way to work around Congress, empowering the president to build the wall using funds from other programs. Aside from the $3.6 billion in military construction projects, he also intends to use $601 million from the Treasury Department’s Asset Forfeiture program and $2.5 billion from an anti-drug program under the Pentagon.
Some of the Republican critics joined Democrats in deriding the unilateral move as simply unconstitutional, as Congress has sole power to direct where taxpayer dollars are spent.
Rep.Justin AmashJustin AmashBusiness, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declarationHouse approves motion condemning anti-SemitismSchiff: Intel chiefs testimony may ‘undermine’ Trump’s ability to declare emergency for wallMORE(R-Mich.) has been especially vocal in condemning Trump’s action. Not only is there no emergency, Amash argues, but Trump is overstating the powers lent him by the National Emergencies Act.
“A prerequisite for declaring an emergency is that the situation requires immediate action and Congress does not have an opportunity to act,” he tweeted. “@POTUS @realDonaldTrump is attempting to circumvent our constitutional system.”
Amash frequently breaks with his party on thorny questions related to constitutional powers. He has not said how he’ll vote on Castro’s disapproval resolution.
This story was updated at 9:37 a.m.