The House passed a resolution Tuesday evening to terminate President Trump’s declared emergency at the southern border, passing the baton to the Senate, where the resolution faces tougher odds.
The measure passed the House easily, 245-182, given that Democrats control the chamber, but 13 Republicans bucked leadership and Trump to vote for the resolution.
The handful of Republican defections was not particularly surprising, as some members of the party have already signaled their disapproval of Trump’s national emergency declaration. The House Liberty Caucus, a libertarian-leaning group of conservatives led by Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), urged its members to vote for the resolution a few hours before the vote. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), another libertarian-leaning member, also said earlier in the day that he would support the measure.
The resolution marks one of the biggest rebukes to President Trump and the first time that Congress has sought to terminate a national emergency declaration since the power was instated in 1976.
Now that the House has approved the resolution, a companion measure will be introduced in the Senate soon, setting up a final vote in mid-March. Its chances in the Senate are less clear, given that Republicans control the chamber.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) notably backed Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency in order to find funds to build a border wall. Yet, several Republican senators have openly disapproved of the move, and McConnell signaled on Tuesday that he won’t push his caucus to stick with Trump.
So far, three Senate Republicans — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — have announced that they will vote for the resolution, leaving the measure just one vote short of passage in the Senate.
Though there’s a chance that the measure could pass the Senate, the vote would ultimately be merely symbolic. Trump has threatened to veto the resolution, and it’s doubtful that enough Republicans in the Senate will back the resolution to ensure a veto-proof majority.
Still, if the resolution passes both chambers, it would be a major political blow to Trump, with Congress finally making a significant attempt to reject one of his policies.
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