Some Republicans in the Senate are angry that President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to get his wall built while circumventing Congress — and may vote against it with Democrats.
“He is usurping congressional authority,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a longtime member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told the New York Times. “If the president can reallocate for his purposes billions of dollars in federal funding that Congress has approved for specific purposes and have been signed into law, that has the potential to render the appropriations process meaningless.”
The report noted that “several” other Republicans are privately in line with Collins’ rebuke — and they have enough numbers to possibly create a majority with Democrats if they vote to disapprove the president’s emergency declaration.
GOP Senate leadership aides say there may be as many as 10 potential Republican defectors and as the report noted, four would be enough to create a pass a majority resolution to rebuke Trump’s decision.
Nevertheless, the members’ criticism is “well short of the sort of partywide revolt necessary to override a veto,” the Times noted.
Conservative Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) stopped short of saying he’d vote to rebuke Trump while noting in an interview with Times that he’s uncomfortable with the declaration.
“We have relinquished power voluntarily because we don’t want to make judgment calls that make people angry, so we leave it to the executive,” Lee said. “It’s almost as if Congress doesn’t want to go through the difficult task of lawmaking.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he worried about the precedent such a declaration, with its circumventing of Congress, would set.
“It is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution because, after the American Revolution against a king, our founders chose not to create a chief executive with the power to tax the people and spend their money any way he chooses,” Alexander told the Times.
As Sen. Collins sees it, challenging Trump’s declaration is “a fundamental constitutional responsibility of Congress.
“We should be opposing this strongly,” the Maine Republican said.