The vote was academic, as there would obviously be enough support in a Democratic House to pass a resolution rebuking Trump and nowhere near the dozens of Republican crossovers needed to override his eventual veto.
Pelosi wanted a few GOPers to support the resolution, though, so that she could say that opposition to the emergency decree was bipartisan. She got 13.
Full list of Republicans who voted with Dems on resolution to reject Trump’s national emergency:
— Lissandra Villa (@LissandraVilla) February 26, 2019
That’s a mix of Republicans who have cultivated their own brands independent of Trump for different reasons — moderates like Stefanik, principled small-government ideologues like Amash, and members who represent border districts and/or districts with large Latino populations like Hurd. Pelosi’s more than 30 votes short of what she’d need for a veto-proof majority so the fate of this congressional effort to stop Trump is already sealed.
But that doesn’t mean there’s not still intrigue in the Senate. It’s almost certain that Schumer will have the 51 votes he needs to pass the House resolution (McConnell can’t block a floor vote in this case, remember) but he’s been stuck at 50 for the past day or so. Collins, Murkowski, and Thom Tillis are all on board and Politico claims that the caucus let Mike Pence have it during their lunch with him today when he tried to sell them on supporting Trump’s order. “I didn’t think his argument was very good. ‘We’ve got a crisis, that means the president can do this.’ That’s essentially the argument,” said one senator who was there. But that fateful 51st vote is proving stubborn, as no Senate Republican wants to be known as the person that put Democrats over the top. The state of play as of this afternoon:
Gardner’s facing a tough reelection in a Hillary state and Alexander is retiring and has slammed the emergency decree as an affront to separation of powers so I assume both votes are a done deal. How about Mr. Constitutional Conservative, Ted Cruz, though? Is he still worried about executive overreach like he was from, say, 2013 through early 2017?
He is. Sort of.
I asked @tedcruz if he’s worries the left will use Trump’s emergency to declare one on climate: “Yes. I am very worried about the slippery slope that could occur, emboldening future Dem presidents to implement radical policies contrary to law and contrary to the Constitution.”
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 26, 2019
There’s a little wiggle room at the end there inasmuch as Cruz might decide Trump’s actions are constitutional and therefore this particular overreach is OK. Having just won reelection in November and knowing that there’s no chance of Trump’s veto being overridden, he’s basically free to vote his conscience here. It’ll say a lot about him if he can’t muster the nerve to cross Trump even when there’s effectively no penalty for doing so — until 2024, I mean, when he runs for president again and Tom Cotton clobbers him for having opposed the royal decree of a border emergency.
Cruz’s home state, where much of the wall is slated to be built, isn’t crazy about this whole process, by the way. New from Quinnipiac:
Note the independent numbers there. Again, this isn’t a poll of the U.S. population, this is Texas. Texans are deadlocked 48/48 on the wall and 45/52 on whether there’s an emergency at the border or not. Trump’s job approval is 47/50. If not for his presidential ambitions, this vote would be a no-brainer for Cruz. As it is, what odds can I get that he votes no on the Democratic resolution?
Here’s Bill Kristol’s group, Republicans for the Rule of Law, reminding Cruz and others that they once opposed DACA on grounds of overreach. That’s a different issue with a different legal posture, but yes, a constitutional conservative should be skeptical of emergency power grabs by the executive, especially when that emergency didn’t seem to be urgent enough for the president to act until Congress refused to appropriate what he was demanding. By the way, one interesting idea stirring in the House tonight is to change the law after this such that national emergencies *automatically* expire in 60 days after the president has declared them unless Congress passes a resolution extending them. I wonder how many very serious proponents of Article I prerogatives will wimp out and vote no on that one too.