GOP Sen. Tillis to vote for resolution blocking Trump's emergency declaration

GOP Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland Tillis The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Bolton returns to political group after exiting administration Tillis places big ad buy as he faces wealthy GOP challenger MORE (N.C.) said on Monday that he will support a resolution to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Congress passes bill to begin scenic byways renaissance MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell lashes out at Democrats over 'unhinged' criticism of Kavanaugh The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year 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 SandersSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations MORE declaring a national emergency to implement parts of the radical Green New Deal; a President Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations MORE declaring a national emergency to shut down banks and take over the nation’s financial institutions; or a President Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Poll: 33 percent of voters undecided on who won third Democratic debate Jon Bon Jovi: Booker would 'do an amazing job' as president 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.