WASHINGTON – Ever since President Donald Trump floated the concept of declaring a national emergency to circumvent house Democrats and fund a border wall to curtail cartel violence, Democrats started working on a way to stop him.
The Democrat resistance will reportedly include several Republican Senators, and Senate staff wanting to remain anonymous confirmed as much to XCluded. In order to send a resolution to reject the national emergency declaration to President Trump’s desk, Democrats will need just four Republican Senators. Democrats however, are not expected to gain enough Republicans to overcome a veto. Of course, that could change depending on which Senators flip.
Xcluded takes a look at the Senators rumored to back a resolution to block Trump‘s emergency declaration to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall, forcing the President to exercise veto powers:
First-year Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ ) holds her Senate seat via Gubernatorial appointment despite losing the 2018 election. McSally lost her senate campaign amid backlash from conservatives and moderates who argued the retired Air Force colonel’s leadership was untrustworthy due to a perceived lack of principles.
McSally initially distanced herself from Trump during her campaign, then embraced the president late in the election. Her waffling support of the president proved to be insufficient in helping her defeat her Democratic rival Kyrsten Sinema.
In an attempt to defend her seat against a Democrat opponent in 2020, McSally is strategizing on a way to reclaim her moderate capital and breaking with the White House on the issue of the national emergency may be her opportunity.
Sources close to McSally who asked to remain anonymous told XCluded the Senator would prefer to find an additional funding proposal for the wall than support Trump’s national emergency declaration, but her vote is likely contingent on what Senate allies Cory Gardner and Mitt Romney decide.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is all but a lock to vote in favor of blocking President Trump’s emergency declaration. Collins was the first Republican to publicly state that she would support the effort to stop the president’s attempt to secure the border, arguing the president’s action “completely undermines” the role of Congress and is of “dubious constitutionality.”
“I don’t think that is what the law was intended for,” Collins told reporters on the steps of Capitol Hill last week. “It was intended for catastrophic events, such as the attacks on our nation on 9/11 and severe natural disasters.”
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Collins is expected to take such a position given the fact that last month she joined Democrats voting on a bill to re-open the government that didn’t include funding for the border wall.
Collins, a NeverTrumper during the 2016 presidential campaign, has long been castigated as “wishy-washy” by conservatives, but she’s been firm against the national emergency declaration from the start. Democrats will rely heavily on Collins to influence her Republican colleagues to join them in rebuffing President Trump on this matter.
The Republican Senator from Alaska has multiple reasons to reject President Trump’s national emergency declaration. For starters, she serves on the Appropriations Committee, which writes spending bills. More importantly, she sits on the subcommittee that writes military construction bills, meaning Trump’s declaration draws her irfor multiple reasons.
Murkowski insists the $5.7 billion Trump requested for the border wall should be diverted for “more important defense projects” and argues declaring a national emergency to deal with the border security crisis sets an unconstitutional legal precedent.
“I have very serious concerns about why we would be seeking to take funding from those accounts that we have already identified as enhancing our national security,” the senator lamented in January. “You don’t need to hold hostage the Interior bill, the financial bill, the transportation, housing, urban development bills,”
Still, there is a chance she avoids breaking rank with GOP allies. Murkowski in the past has avoided wasting time voting on bills that the President will veto.
Marco Rubio’s team is said to be holding their cards close to their chest and for good reason. Rubio could stand to gain making the right decision on this resolution and is said to be waiting for additional details about the declaration before he makes a decision about supporting it.
He warned since January that this could set a bad precedent for executive powers but also said that the statutes the President relies on to enact the declaration will be a crucial factor for whether he would support it.
Simultaneously, Rubio would likely be in no hurry to join an alliance with Democrats. His goal has been to remain a party leader capable of distancing himself from the President while also tenuously supporting the White House’s agenda. Rubio notably voted against the spending bill reached to avoid the government shutdown due to the fact that he was fighting to bring his state of Florida more hurricane relief.
Most D.C. insiders expect Rubio to be happy enough with statutes used to justify the emergency declaration to avoid breaking rank with GOP Senators but if he does plan on disapproving Trump’s action it could be harmful to the President as it could provide cover for on-the-fence Senators currently fearing reprisal to break rank and join him.
Mitt Romney appeared to set himself up to be a longtime thorn in President Trump’s side when he penned an op-ed blasting the President’s decorum soon after he was sworn in as Senator.
Since his niece and GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel criticized Romney’s comments in a tweet in which she also reminded her uncle that he was a “freshman” Senator, Romney has been somewhat of an ally to the White House agenda.
When the government shutdown negotiations stalled, Romney often provided soundbites calling for negotiations and took the heat by saying he agreed with the concept for the wall, adding that U.S. border security was in a “crisis”. Surprisingly, Romney doesn’t figure to be one of the GOP Senators to break rank. If President Trump stays within statutory and constitutional limits, Romney won’t likely join a resolution to disapprove.
Sen. Mike Lee met with President Trump multiple times during the push to end the government shutdown and was quick to state he thought the declaration announcement was “legal.”
Despite that statement, Lee has been a longtime advocate of returning authority on such matters to Congress and many in Washington expect that he will grandstand on the issue of executive powers, though he won’t vote “yes” on a resolution to block the President’s action. After all, Lee called Democrats “silly”, “petulant”, and “categorically unreasonable” when discussing what it was like dealing with them on matters of border security.
Honorable mentions: Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis, Chuck Grassley, Ben Sasse