Senate to rebuke Trump on wall

The GOP-controlled Senate is poised to pass a Democratic resolution Thursday blocking President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE’s declaration of a national emergency to build a wall on the Mexican border. 

Talks within the GOP conference to avoid an embarrassing rebuke for Trump collapsed Wednesday, and Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Hillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Senators introduce bipartisan bill restricting police use of facial recognition tech MORE (Utah) joined four fellow Republican senators who have already said they will back the measure. 


Many more are expected to vote against Trump on Thursday. Members of both parties believe he went too far in declaring an emergency to secure funding for a wall that he could not win through the appropriations process — or an extended government shutdown that was a black eye for the Republican Party. 

The House has already approved the resolution, meaning Trump will be forced to use his veto power for the first time. 

GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP Hillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day MORE (Alaska), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Progressive group to spend as much as M to turn out young voters This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (N.C.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate scraps plan to force second stopgap vote ahead of shutdown On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal Democratic debate at Tyler Perry's could miss the mark with black voters MORE (Ky.) have said they will back the measure. Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters MORE (Fla.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump FDA pick dodges questions on Trump's flavored vape ban Congress feels heat to act on youth vaping Progressive Democrats ramp up attacks on private equity MORE (Utah), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures MORE (Tenn.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonHundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia Veterans face growing threat from online disinformation Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid MORE (Ga.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSondland testifies quid pro quo in Ukraine was real and widely known Dem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens Former Bush aide defends Vindman, criticizes GOP congressmen for 'defaming' him MORE (Wis.), Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (Neb.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSenate Democrats unveil priorities for federal privacy bill Microsoft embraces California law, shaking up privacy debate It's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number MORE (Kan.) are among the Republicans who could join them. 

Republicans control 53 seats in the chamber, and Democrats are set to back the resolution unanimously. A GOP aide said the high-water mark for votes against Trump is likely 12 Republicans and 59 senators overall. 

A senior Senate GOP aide confirmed the vote will happen Thursday, although a precise time was not locked in by Wednesday afternoon. 

Lawmakers opposed to Trump’s use of the emergency declaration seem unable to meet the two-thirds majority vote in either chamber to overturn his veto, but a big vote in the Senate would at least put opponents in striking range. 

Tillis and Lee were in talks with Vice President Pence on Tuesday to try to find a compromise that would allow them to vote against the resolution of disapproval, but those talks collapsed on Wednesday. 

“We tried to cut a deal, the president didn’t appear interested,” Lee told The Hill. “I’ll be voting ‘yes.’ ”


The president called Lee during a lunch meeting of the Senate GOP conference to announce that he would not endorse Lee’s bill to require Congress to approve future emergencies. 

Republican senators said Trump’s opposition to reining in his emergency powers effectively blew up any chance of coming up with a strategy to defeat the disapproval resolution. 

“ ‘Dandy Don’ Meredith used to sing a song at the end of the game when the result was obvious. It was called turn out the lights, the party’s over. Well, that’s appropriate right now,” Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) told reporters after Trump’s position became known. 

“It’s time to vote, everybody knows how they’re going to vote. I don’t think the president’s going to win this one,” he added.

Trump, who is using the emergency declaration to access billions of dollars to build the wall, including $3.6 billion in military construction funds, warned Republicans on Wednesday that defectors are making a political mistake. 

“This is a vote on border security and it’s a vote on drugs and trafficking and all of that. And I think most Republican senators fully understand that,” Trump told reporters. 

Trump says senators can vote their conscience but should proceed carefully.

“I said use your own discretion. But I think it’s a bad vote if they go against — I think anybody going against border security, drug trafficking, human trafficking, that’s a bad vote,” he said.

Republican senators say there are still some negotiations happening over what time the vote should happen and whether the resolution should be subject to amendments. 

“There’s been discussion about potential amendments, and that was part of what was discussed, but there’s no decision made,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' Congress feels heat to act on youth vaping Senate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters MORE (R-Texas). 

Thursday’s vote will be the second time in two days the GOP-controlled Senate has broken with Trump.

The chamber voted Wednesday to withdraw U.S. support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting against Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war. It passed a similar resolution in December. That legislation must still pass the House.

Rubio said Wednesday that Trump’s declaration is troubling because it would take away money Congress appropriated for military construction projects.

“It’s money that Congress specifically appropriated for purposes of construction on military facilities. You could make an argument that it’s legal under the statute, but it stretches it and that’s what people are uncomfortable with,” he said. 

Rubio said there’s discussion about an alternative resolution sponsored by Alexander and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzLawmakers spar over surveillance flight treaty with Russia Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action Prisons chief: FBI investigating whether 'criminal enterprise' played role in Epstein death MORE (R-Texas) that would limit Trump’s ability to redirect funding to two pockets of money.

Another GOP lawmaker, however, said that proposal has been on the table for days and failed to generate much support in the conference. 

“It’s gotten to the point of being absurd,” the senator said of the increasingly frantic efforts to find a way to avoid voting for the disapproval resolution. 

Alexander, a Senate institutionalist who is retiring in 2020, has led the criticism of Trump’s action. 

He called the emergency declaration “unnecessary, unwise and inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.”

Alexander and other Republicans say that a future Democratic president could use Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to tear down the border wall, to close coal plants or to require all Americans to receive health coverage under Medicare instead of from private employers. 

Jordain Carney contributed.