GOP Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime How to fix the semiconductor chip shortage (it's more than manufacturing) MORE (N.C.) said on Monday that he will support a resolution to block President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE's national emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border.
"I would vote in favor of the resolution disapproving of the president’s national-emergency declaration, if and when it comes before the Senate," Tillis wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
Tillis's decision comes a day before the House is expected to take up the resolution to block Trump's national emergency declaration. Because Democrats control that chamber, it's expected to pass and kick the fight to the Senate.
Tillis's decision puts Democrats on the brink of being able to block Trump's emergency declaration in the Senate. If the resolution of disapproval passes the Senate it will go to the president's desk, where he has said he will use his first veto.
If all 47 Democrats vote for the resolution they would need to flip four Republican senators in order for it to pass the Senate. The vote needs a simple majority.
GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee MORE (R-Alaska) are both viewed as likely yes votes, which would make Tillis the third Republican defector. Both Tillis and Collins are up for reelection in 2020 and viewed as targets as Democrats look for ways to pick up seats.
Collins told reporters in Maine last week that she would vote for a "clean" resolution to block Trump's emergency declaration.
Murkowski told an Alaska TV station on Friday that she would "probably" vote for it, adding that "if it's what I have seen right now, I will support the resolution to disapprove."
Trump declared the national emergency earlier this month that he said allows him to pull from funds that were not appropriated by Congress for the border wall.
He has threatened to veto the resolution if it makes it to his desk.
Trump's decision came in the face of pushback from top Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have fretted about the precedent a national emergency declaration for this purpose could set for a future Democratic president.
Tillis, in his op-ed, wrote that there was "no intellectual honesty" for Republicans if they previously criticized former President Obama's executive actions but don't oppose Trump's on the border wall.
He also noted that several of his Democratic colleagues are running for president and floated that they could use Trump's precedent to try to ram through proposals Republicans are opposed to.
Conservatives "should be thinking about whether they would accept the prospect of a President Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' MORE declaring a national emergency to implement parts of the radical Green New Deal; a President Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFederal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE declaring a national emergency to shut down banks and take over the nation’s financial institutions; or a President Cory BookerCory BookerDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries Fighting poverty, the Biden way Top Senate Democrats urge Biden to take immediate action on home confinement program MORE declaring a national emergency to restrict Second Amendment rights," Tillis wrote.
He added that, while he supports Trump on border security, the emergency declaration decision was about the separation of powers between the executive branch and Congress.
"As a U.S. senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress. As a conservative, I cannot endorse a precedent that I know future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies that will erode economic and individual freedoms," Tillis wrote.
— Updated 7:34 p.m.