Trump Warned About Republican Rebellion Against Emergency Declaration
WASHINGTON, DC – March 2, 2019
Senate Republicans warned President Trump that he should reconsider his decision to declare a national emergency at the southern border, "if he does not want to face a rebellion within his own party," Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander said on Thursday.
At least three Republicans: Thom Tillis, from North Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Susan Collins of Maine have already said they would join the Democrats in voting for a motion to repeal Trump's emergency.
With the Senate split 53-47, including two Independents who caucus with the Dems, the resolution would be defeated if a fourth Republican joined them.
But Trump has promised to veto any bill that would overturn his declaration in response to what he calls a “crisis” at the Mexican border, and it seems unlikely that the House and Senate could amass the two-thirds majorities that would be needed to override a veto.
“I do not think emergencies are a good way to run the government. For a long time I have believed and defended that every president, Republican and Democrat, must act in accordance with the Constitution and federal law," he said.
"We have never had a case in which the president has requested money, Congress has rejected it and then used the national powers to obtain it anyway," he added. “For me that is a dangerous precedent.”
Alexander said on the Senate floor that Trump had other ways to collect the $5.7 billion for the border wall.
“He’s got sufficient funding without a national emergency, he can build a wall and avoid a dangerous precedent,” Alexander told reporters afterward.
“That would change the voting situation if he were to agree to do that.”
Meanwhile, a small bipartisan group of senators planned to introduce a resolution Thursday aimed at blocking the declaration.
The proposal is identical to the one-sentence measure the Democrat-controlled House approved earlier this week.
“It shows support from senators for the resolution, not just House members,” Collins said.
The senators’ move was the latest evidence that significant numbers of lawmakers are not shying away from a fight with Trump.
The showdown puts some GOP lawmakers in an uncomfortable political crunch, with many leery of opposing Trump and angering his base of supporters.
But they also fear the precedent his move would set for future Democratic presidents to declare emergencies for their own purposes, and worry that the money he would shift to barrier construction could come from home-state projects.