The Senate Might Actually Do Something Useful for Once

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So far in his presidency, Donald Trump has never used a veto. That might change, however, because it appears that some in the Senate GOP may vote for a resolution against his decidedly not-an-emergency national emergency.

Last week, Sen. Susan Collins—who’s up for re-election in 2020 in a blue state—said she’d back both a lawsuit and a “clean” resolution of disapproval against the national emergency. Over the weekend, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she would vote for the resolution, which is set to be taken up in the Senate soon. And on Monday night, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (who’s also up for re-election in 2020) wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in which he also said he would vote for the resolution. From the op-ed:

Conservatives rightfully cried foul when President Barack Obama used executive action to completely bypass Congress and unilaterally provide deferred action to undocumented adults who had knowingly violated the nation’s immigration laws. Some prominent Republicans went so far as to proclaim that Obama was acting more like an “emperor” or “king” than a president.

There is no intellectual honesty in now turning around and arguing that there’s an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach — that it’s acceptable for my party but not thy party.


The House is set to vote on the resolution today. Assuming it passes, and that the aforementioned GOP senators and all 47 Senate Democrats voted for it as well, just one more Republican senator would need to back it to send it to Trump. (We’ve reached out to Sens. Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and Doug Jones, three conservative Democrats, to ask how they’d vote on the resolution, and will update with any response we receive.)

And according to a Politico piece from Monday night, more Senate Republicans are wary of the national emergency, although in typical GOP fashion, they aren’t giving much indication as to what they’ll ultimately do:

“It’s unnecessary, unwise and inconsistent with the Constitution,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), one of the most vocal critics of Trump’s emergency declaration. As to how he will vote, he said: “I’m going to wait to see what the resolution says.”

“I haven’t even read it but I’ve said, ‘I don’t like what’s happened and I certainly don’t like using military money for it,’” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said he is “getting closer” to making a decision but said he could not divulge which way he is leaning. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, a vulnerable incumbent in 2020 issued a statement stating that he is “reviewing” the declaration. He said on Monday: “I’ve said all that I’m going to say on that.”

Profiles in courage.

Should the Senate vote to pass the resolution—which is privileged, meaning it must be voted on by the Senate within 18 days of the House’s passage—it’ll undoubtedly set up a veto override fight with Trump. That’s quite a bit of a bigger mountain to climb; each chamber needs a two-thirds majority in order to override the president’s veto, which explains why there’s only been 111 overridden vetoes in the history of the country.


Either way, we’re back at that place we so often found ourselves over the last two years: hoping the Senate does something remotely useful for once.

Update, 3:06 p.m. ET: A spokesperson from Jones’ office told Splinter that he’ll support the resolution if it’s brought before the Senate.