The president announcing his national emergency declaration in a rambling press conference last month.
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
By a 59-41 vote, with 12 Republicans voting with all 47 Democrats, the Senate today passed a resolution disapproving the president’s February national emergency declaration over the “border crisis” he claims justifies moving previously appropriated dollars around to fund his pet border wall. The House earlier passed the resolution by a 245-182 margin (13 Republicans abandoned the president on that vote). Trump has repeatedly pledged to veto the resolution, which will be the first veto of his presidency. The vote in favor of it in both chambers was well short of the two-thirds needed for a veto override, though the emergency declaration still faces significant legal challenges.
It’s without question an embarrassment for Trump, who doesn’t like his powers tested. He also expended some political capital trying to keep the number of Republican defections to a minimum. He personally blew up one compromise with conservatives anxious about the precedent the declaration set, when he refused a deal brokered by Mike Lee to trade votes against the disapproval resolution in exchange for a presidential agreement to sign separate legislation restricting the future use of emergency declarations. He took to his Twitter account this morning to rebuke potential defectors:
White House pressure did keep some wavering Republican senators in line:
In the end, 12 GOP Senators (Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, Mike Lee, Lisa Murkowski, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Rob Portman, Jerry Moran, Marco Rubio, Roger Wicker, and Mitt Romney) voted for the resolution blocking Trump’s emergency declaration. They now all have at least one gesture of independence from Trump to brandish if the president gets into big trouble between now and 2020.