Senate GOP whip: Disapproval resolution likely to pass

Senate GOP whip: Disapproval resolution likely to pass
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate GOP Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP rattled by Trump rally GOP wants commitment that Trump will sign budget deal Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator MORE (S.D.) says he would be “really surprised” if Republicans manage to defeat a resolution disapproving of President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE’s emergency border declaration, even if the president commits to reforming his emergency powers.

“I think there were always a number of Republicans who were inclined to be for it, absent some indication from the White House that they would be willing to support changes to the National Emergencies Act,” Thune told reporters Wednesday morning. 

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A group of Senate Republicans have discussed a possible deal with Vice President Pence under which Trump would promise to sign legislation reforming the National Emergencies Act (NEA) of 1976 in exchange for Republicans defeating a Democratic-backed disapproval resolution. 

But Thune said Wednesday that even if Trump promises to sign legislation introduced by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin Senate to vote on 9/11 victims bill on Tuesday Meghan McCain slams Rand Paul over blocking 9/11 compensation funding: 'This is a disgrace' MORE (R-Utah) to rein in the president’s power to declare national emergencies by requiring Congress to approve such emergencies beyond 30 days, the pending disapproval resolution is likely to pass. 

“I’d be really surprised if it would, on an outright vote, [if] there would be the votes to defeat it,” he said. 

But Thune added that if Trump endorses reforming presidential national emergency powers, it could lower the GOP vote total.

“I think it might change a number of votes,” he said. “Obviously the numbers, the math, matters here.” 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump telling aides to look at potential spending cuts if he wins reelection: report Budget talks between White House, Pelosi spill into weekend Trump says he won't watch Mueller testimony MORE (D-Calif.) has tried to box in Senate Republicans by stating Wednesday that the House will not take up any Senate-passed bill reforming the National Emergencies Act as part of a deal to keep Republicans voting for what she called a “clean” House-passed disapproval resolution of Trump’s declaration over the southern border.

"Republican Senators are proposing new legislation to allow the President to violate the Constitution just this once in order to give themselves cover," Pelosi said in a statement. "The House will not take up this legislation to give President Trump a pass."

Thune, however, predicted that Pelosi may have a hard time keeping national emergency reform legislation bottled up since there’s broad desire to limit the president’s power to declare future emergencies. 

“I think that would be a hard position to sustain. I think there are a lot of Democrats, actually, who are interested in recapturing some of the Congress’s authority and think the NEA in ’76 went too far,” he said. 

Even if Congress passes a resolution disapproving Trump’s emergency declaration, which he made to access $3.6 billion in funding to build border barriers, Trump will veto it. 

The resolution does not have enough votes in either chamber to overcome a veto, so the matter will ultimately wind up getting resolved by the courts, lawmakers predict.