House poised for vote to block emergency declaration

WASHINGTON — The House is prepared to vote Tuesday on a resolution to block President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, which Democrats hope will send a message to the White House that lawmakers won’t stand idly by while he diverts billions of dollars to a planned border wall.

Supporters of the resolution are confident it will pass the House and are growing more hopeful the Republican-controlled Senate will also approve it, with the help of GOP lawmakers.

Trump on Monday sent a warning to Republicans on Twitter, quoting a Fox News host questioning why any of them would go against his efforts to get money for a wall.

But Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said over the weekend that she will likely vote with Democrats to approve the resolution.

“Looking at what we have in front of us right now, I probably will be supporting the resolution to disapprove,” Murkowski said in an interview with Alaska television station KTUU. 

“Not because I disagree with the president when it comes to border security, certainly national security. But, because I think it’s so important that there be clear lines when it comes to the separation of powers,” she added.

Several other Republicans have indicated unease with the president using the declaration to free up close to $8 billion for the wall, including $3.6 billion that’s currently approved for military construction projects.

Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, has said the declaration undermines the role of Congress and she will vote for the resolution. Republicans hold a 53-47 margin in the Senate, so four Republicans would need to join every Democrat for the resolution to pass.

Other Republicans to watch:

  • Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt — he hasn’t said how he’ll vote, but told CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday that he thinks “it’s an unfortunate decision.”
  • Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley has made no secret of his feeling about the declaration, but has not said how he’ll vote. His vote carries weight, given his influence as president pro tempore. He is also the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
  • Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, another longtime lawmaker, has called the president’s declaration “unwise.”
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has indicated he has lots of questions about the decision.
  • Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is often at odds with the president and appears to be on this issue as well.

On the Democratic side, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who sometimes sides with the president, has made it clear he will not support him on the national emergency.

Even if the resolution rebuking the president’s declaration passes both chambers, it may not change anything.

The president has said he will veto the measure, which would be the first veto of his term. Though Democrats control the House, it’s doubtful they would get enough support to override the veto, which requires a two-thirds vote in the House, as well as the Senate.

As of Monday, only one Republican in the 435-member House had indicated he will vote for the resolution: Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly vowed that Mexico would pay for a border wall.

Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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