Senate to rebuke Trump on wall

The GOP-controlled Senate is poised to pass a Democratic resolution Thursday blocking President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' 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 LeeStop asking parents to sacrifice Social Security benefits for paid family leave The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over New Zealand coverage GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers 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 CollinsSenate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks Overnight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRed dresses displayed around American Indian museum to memorialize missing, murdered native women Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration MORE (Alaska), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (N.C.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHillicon Valley: Mueller delivers report, ending investigation | FEMA exposed info of 2.3M disaster survivors | Facebook asks judge to toss DC privacy lawsuit | Trump picks his first CTO | FCC settles lawsuit over net neutrality records Transparency advocate says government agencies face 'use it or lose it' spending Republicans need solutions on environment too MORE (Ky.) have said they will back the measure. Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCountdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Rubio wants 'all' of Mueller report made public including founding documents Rubio: Trump reversal on North Korea sanctions 'shouldn't have happened that way' MORE (Fla.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney helps GOP look for new path on climate change Former Bush adviser: Senate should reject Stephen Moore Trump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP MORE (Utah), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderRomney helps GOP look for new path on climate change GOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight Overnight Health Care: Senators seek CBO input on preventing surprise medical bills | Oversight panel seeks OxyContin documents | Pharmacy middlemen to testify on prices | Watchdog warns air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk' MORE (Tenn.), Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonTrump keeps up attacks on 'horrible' McCain, despite calls from GOP, veterans Crenshaw to Trump: 'Stop talking about McCain' Scaramucci: Trump McCain attacks are 'socially unnatural,' 'stupid' MORE (Ga.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonScott Walker considering running for Wisconsin governor or Senate: report GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers The Hill's 12:30 Report: O'Rourke jumps into 2020 fray MORE (Wis.), Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseTrump approves Nebraska disaster declaration Nebraska lawmakers urge Trump to approve disaster funding Republicans up for reelection fear daylight with Trump MORE (Neb.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget 12 Republican senators defy Trump on emergency declaration  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 CornynConservatives wage assault on Mueller report Senate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks GOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 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 CruzCountdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Ex-Clinton aide: Dems should make 2020 'about integrity' Cruz: House 'fully intends' to impeach Trump 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.