Senate Expected to Vote Against Trump Emergency Declaration

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

The Republican-led Senate is set to deal President Donald Trump a rebuke on his declaration of a national emergency at the Mexican border, with the only remaining question how many GOP senators will join Democrats in defying him.

Republicans are predicting that Thursday’s showdown vote will result in Congress sending Trump a resolution blocking the border emergency he proclaimed last month to steer an extra $3.6 billion to building border barriers. Since the Democratic-controlled House approved the measure last month, the Senate vote would force Trump to use a veto to protect his presidential campaign’s “Build the Wall” and “Finish the Wall” mantras over objections from his own party.

“It was called turn out the lights, the party’s over,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., recalling a favorite refrain of “Monday Night Football” announcers when a game was out of reach. “Well, that’s appropriate right now.”

Senate passage of the resolution was all but ordained Wednesday after the collapse of efforts by the White House and GOP senators to reach compromise on separate legislation by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, limiting presidents’ powers to declare emergencies in the future. Republican lawmakers had hoped a deal on that measure would have helped more of them to back Trump’s border emergency in Thursday’s vote. Instead, several Republicans are being boxed into a thorny dilemma: defy Trump and the conservative voters who back him passionately, or assent to what many lawmakers from both parties consider a dubious and dangerous expansion of presidential authority.

With Republicans controlling the Senate 53-47, just four GOP defections would be enough to approve the resolution canceling Trump’s border emergency. The other GOP senators who have said they will vote to block Trump’s border emergency are Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Kentucky’s Rand Paul.