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The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE’s decision to declare a national emergency in order to circumvent Congress and secure funds to build a wall on the Mexican border puts him on a collision course with lawmakers from his own party. 

No Republican senator has said they will break ranks and vote in favor of a resolution of disapproval that Democrats are expected to bring to the floor, but there are reasons to expect some defections. 

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A number of Republicans fear Trump’s move will undermine Congress and embolden a future Democratic president to take similar actions. 

Here are 10 Republican senators who could vote against the president. 

 
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him GOP blocks effort to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks MORE (Maine)

Collins, a top Democratic target in 2020, has warned that the emergency declaration is “of dubious constitutionality” and a “mistake.” 

She hasn’t definitively said how she will vote and suggested to reporters Thursday that her decision could swing on how much money Trump plans to redirect through his emergency declaration.

Voting against Trump’s declaration would give her some distance from the president, which could help her politically after she voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court sees new requests for religious COVID-19 carve-outs For Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty COVID-19: Justice Alito overstepped judicial boundaries MORE

 

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return MORE (Alaska)

Murkowski said last week that the lack of a border wall is not “a matter that should be declared a national emergency.”

She has also said that acting “unilaterally” raises a concern about precedent.

“We don’t know who our next president may be, but it may be a president whose No. 1 priority is dealing with climate change, who says ‘I don’t care whether I have the support of the Congress,’ ” she said in a CBS interview. “Or a president who may say ‘I believe that gun violence in this country is the most pressing issue and I don’t care whether the Congress supports me or not.’ ”

She has also voiced anxiety about how the action could erode congressional authority.

 

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisRep. Mark Walker announces Senate bid in North Carolina Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge MORE (N.C.)

Tillis is another Democratic target in 2020, though his state has voted for the GOP candidate for president in the past two cycles.

He has generally been a strong ally of Trump’s, but he may want to demonstrate independence. 

Tillis, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, worries that Trump’s plan to take money from military construction projects for the wall could undermine defense readiness. 

He warned in a statement that “it wouldn’t provide enough funding to adequately secure our borders” and “would create a new precedent that a left-wing president would undoubtedly utilize to implement their radical policy agenda while bypassing the authority of Congress.” 

 

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMcConnell chokes up saying goodbye to 'friend' Lamar Alexander in floor speech Mark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Longtime GOP lawmaker urges Senate to restore itself in farewell speech MORE (Tenn.)

Alexander, an institutionalist and student of history, is attuned to the constitutional and separation of powers questions raised by Trump’s action. 

He’s also retiring, which gives him the freedom to vote his conscience. 

Alexander was one of six Republicans who voted last month for a Democratic measure to reopen the federal government without additional funding for the border wall.   

On Friday, he called Trump’s action “unnecessary, unwise and inconsistent with the Constitution,” warning it could set the precedent for a president to declare an emergency to tear down border barriers or close coal plants. 

 

Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerMark Kelly to be sworn in as senator on Wednesday Hillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities MORE (Colo.)

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Gardner, like Collins, faces reelection next year in a state won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary and Chelsea Clinton to host series based on their book 'Gutsy Women' Democrats see spike in turnout among Asian American, Pacific Islander voters Biden officially announces ex-Obama official Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE

In a statement, he said Congress is “most appropriately situated to fund border security,” but he hasn’t said how he’d vote on a disapproval resolution. 

He is facing pressure from within his state, one of 16 that have filed a
lawsuit against Trump’s action. Nearly 100 people gathered outside Gardner’s Fort Collins office Monday to protest Trump’s announcement.

Gardner says he is “currently reviewing the authorities the administration is using.” 


Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale GOP urges Trump not to tank defense bill over tech fight Pressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal MORE (Fla.)

Rubio, whom Trump defeated in the 2016 GOP primary, says he will review the administration’s arguments on its statutory and constitutional powers. 

“I am skeptical it will be something I can support,” he has said, noting the precedent it could set.

He warned Monday of its implications for military projects. 

“Just as a matter of policy, our military construction budget is already behind schedule compared to where we need to be for some of our facilities around this country, so I think it’s a bad idea,” he said. 

 

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him WaPo reporter says GOP has less incentive to go big on COVID-19 relief COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks MORE (Utah) 

Romney, one of six Republicans to vote to reopen the government without additional wall funding, last week said he wanted to see what “legislative authority he might cite” before rendering a decision on an emergency declaration. 

The Utah senator has harshly criticized Trump, and his national stature as a past GOP presidential nominee has set him up as a rival leader within the party to Trump.

He predicted last month there was a “good chance” Trump would declare an emergency and warned it would set a bad precedent. “We Republicans will be concerned that this kind of approach could be used by perhaps a Democrat president in the future,” he told KSL Newsradio’s “Dave and Dujanovic.”

 

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge MORE (Utah) 

Lee said in a tweet Friday that “Congress has been ceding far too much power to the exec. Branch for decades. We should use this moment as an opportunity to start taking that power back.”

A spokesman said Lee is undecided on how to vote on any resolution that comes to the Senate floor. 

Lee has been a leading advocate for giving Congress more say over Trump’s authority to use military force. 

In December, he was one of seven Republicans who voted for a resolution to end U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in Yemen’s civil war. He co-wrote the resolution with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Sanders press secretary: 'Principal concern' of Biden appointments should be policy DeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump MORE (I-Vt.). 

 

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSweeping financial crimes bill to hitch a ride on defense measure It's time for Congress to act: Save jobs and stabilize the aerospace industry Lobbying world MORE (Kan.)

Moran has quietly emerged as an independent-minded lawmaker who’s willing to buck Trump on big votes. 

He also voted with Lee and Collins in December to rein in Trump’s war-making authority, sending a message to Saudi Arabia after the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Moran argues that Trump’s decision could embolden future presidents to circumvent Congress. 

“I’m worried that if it gets used this time, what’s the next instance in which it becomes used?” he said last week.  

 

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Defense: Lawmakers release compromise defense bill in defiance of Trump veto threat | Senate voting next week on blocking UAE arms sale | Report faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' in military plane crashes Senate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return MORE (Ky.) 

Paul has emerged as a confidant of Trump’s, but he has also styled himself a constitutionalist throughout his Senate career and regularly bucks his party’s leadership on votes that strike at his core principles. 

Paul has warned against circumventing Congress’s power of the purse.

On Thursday, he said he was “disappointed” with the president’s “intention to declare an emergency to build the wall.” 

While Paul supports stronger border security, he said “extraconstitutional executive actions are wrong, no matter which party does them.” 

And Paul hasn’t been shy about bucking Trump on other high-profile questions, as shown through his attempt to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia. 

He voted with Lee, Collins and Moran in December to curb the president’s war powers and regularly defends the independence of the separate branches of government.