Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

GOP Senators ‘Overthinking’ Vote on Our ‘MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY’

GOP Senators ‘Overthinking’ Vote on Our ‘MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY’

Critics of the legislation say it was introduced Tuesday to provide political cover for Republicans who have constitutional concerns about Trump's border emergency declaration but who don't want to publicly rebuke him by supporting a House-passed measure that would overturn it. Thom Tillis (R-NC) had been wavering as he eyed Lee's proposal, which would curtail presidents' abilities to declare future national emergencies without impacting the current bill. Lee's bill would allow senators to vote to keep Trump's wall-funding emergency in place, while also claiming that they are checking future abuses of executive emergency powers.

"We'll see whether or not I have to do the veto", Trump said Wednesday at an event at the White House. "While we have impeachment authority, we need to be very cognizant of what the American people believe, and I agree with the speaker, that the probability of success is low, and the distraction would be major".

After a closed-door lunch, GOP lawmakers predicted the Senate would approve a resolution Thursday annulling the emergency Trump has declared along the border.

"I'd be really surprised on an outright vote that there would be votes to defeat [the disapproval resolution], but I think it might change a number of votes", said Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.

Congress has not funded Trump's border wall requests, including under unified Republican control of the legislature, as existed for the first two years of his term in office.

Pelosi's statement Wednesday, though, tells the Republican senators their efforts are moot because she won't bring the Article One Act up for a vote in the House. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rand Paul of Kentucky. But the faceoff would highlight a clash in which Trump was being forced to protect one of his highest priorities - building a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, his signature campaign promise - by vetoing legislation sent to him by a Republican-led Senate.

Any vote to revise the emergency law is expected to be independent of the vote on the disapproval resolution, which has already passed the House and is expected to be put to a vote Thursday in the Senate.

Pelosi has not spoken on the matter, but the aide said that she will be offering additional space to the White House legislative affairs team.

An administration official said the White House is skeptical there will be enough votes to head off a Senate defeat and is reluctant to back limits on future declarations unless a victory on the resolution is assured. "Let's tell the president he cannot use his overreaching power to declare an emergency when he couldn't get Congress to do what he wanted". The official was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that tries to claw back some emergency powers to Congress and whether the White House endorses some version of it. Still, Congress would be highly unlikely to muster the two-thirds majorities needed to eventually override a veto.

Under a 1976 law, presidents have wide discretion in determining when a national emergency has occurred. But the bill is just one day away from receiving a vote, and Lee's offer was the only one out there that looked to give the president an out.

The strongest chance of blocking Trump's border emergency is likely several lawsuits filed by Democratic state attorneys general, environmental groups and others.

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