The House passed legislation Tuesday disapproving of President Donald Trump’s border security emergency declaration but came up well short of the two-thirds margin that would be needed to overcome a Trump veto.
The 245-182 vote sends the joint resolution to the Senate, where it should get expedited consideration.
All eyes now will be on the handful of Senate Republicans most likely to buck Trump and assert congressional authority.
Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina was the first GOP senator to offer a lengthy explanation for his decision to support the resolution, which he did Monday evening in an opinion piece for The Washington Post. Tillis wrote that as much as he supported the president’s push for border security, the method was too constitutionally dubious.
“In fact, if I were the leader of the Constitution’s Article II branch, I would probably declare an emergency and use all the tools at my disposal as well,” Tillis wrote. “But I am not. I am a member of the Senate, and I have grave concerns when our institution looks the other way at the expense of weakening Congress’s power.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, confirmed her support for disapproving the emergency declaration Tuesday, and Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins has likewise indicated support.
In the House, 13 Republicans voted with the Democrats against the emergency declaration: Justin Amash and Fred Upton of Michigan; Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; Mike Gallagher and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin; Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; Will Hurd of Texas; Dusty Johnson of South Dakota; Thomas Massie of Kentucky; Francis Rooney of Florida; Elise Stefanik of New York; and Greg Walden of Oregon.
Massie said in a Twitter post before the vote that he planned to support the resolution “in order to be consistent in preserving the constitutional structure of our Republic.”
“It is not a military threat,” Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, who leads U.S. Northern Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday morning. He quickly added that doesn’t necessarily mean the military should not be involved in the border mission.
Trump’s original plan was to use $3.6 billion from unspent military construction money, $2.5 billion in unspent Pentagon counterdrug funds and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture account to build the wall.
But just $85 million remains unspent in the Pentagon’s fiscal 2019 counterdrug accounts, complicating the president’s initial plans.
Urge your Senator to support the legislation.