Senate Republicans reportedly don’t want to send the national emergency resolution to Trump’s desk, so they are trying to work out a deal with Trump so that they can support it.
Here’s the low down:
POLITICO – Senate Republicans are trying to head off a collision with President Donald Trump over the border wall this week, even as his new budget demands ensure the painful political battle will extend into the fall.
Some GOP senators are discussing a potential compromise with the White House in order to limit Republican defections on a vote this week to overturn Trump’s emergency declaration, according to GOP senators and aides. The matter was unresolved as of Monday evening, senators said, but the discussions underscore the reluctance of the GOP to fight with the president on the Senate floor.
Republican senators queasy about the legality and precedent of Trump’s unilateral move to fund his wall are exploring whether the president will commit to signing a bill amending the National Emergency Act and curtailing presidential power. In exchange, they would consider standing with the president and potentially vote against the House-passed disapproval measure.
Four Republicans have already signaled they would vote with Democrats: Tillis, Paul, Collins and Murkowski.
However both Tillis and Mike Lee, who is still undecided, are among the senators in negotiations with Trump:
“If there’s a chance to make progress on the National Emergency Act, which I think has been revealed to be problematic, then that would certainly be something I would consider,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Two GOP senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, discussed the potential changes to the law with the White House over the weekend. Tillis opposes Trump’s national emergency declaration and Lee is undecided on how he will vote. Roughly a dozen GOP senators are weighing whether to vote against the White House.
“There’s a lot of different discussions going on and really I thought the White House has been great in speaking with a number of members, me just one of them,” Tillis said. He said they were discussing how to balance the president’s “individual power” and Congress’ role.
Lee has pitched a proposal requiring Congress to approve any emergency declaration after 30 days, though the White House wants that period to be significantly extended.
Another possibility is Trump agreeing to change the law in the future to prevent abuse of the law in the future:
It’s unclear whether the last-minute negotiations will work. Changing the law would require 60 votes in the Senate and buy-in from House Democratic leaders, in addition to Trump’s signature. And it may not be able to prevent the disapproval measure from reaching the president’s desk given deep-seated disagreement some GOP senators have with Trump’s use of the emergency powers.
One senator familiar with the talks said, “We may be getting to a point where the president will give an assurance” to senators on changing the law to avoid future end-runs around Congress. But no final decision has been made and winning over Democrats angry with Trump’s emergency declaration will likely be difficult.
“There was some conversation about it … it’s probably going to be a pretty tough sell. No president wants to constrain their power, but I hope we have a good conversation about it,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). “Anything like that would be purely prospective, so I think we’re going to deal with the current declaration on its own terms.”
The one Senator I still haven’t heard from on this is Ted Cruz. Last we reported he was still investigating whether the law was constitutional before he voiced his support for it. So I don’t know if he’s a part of these negotiations or not.
Since they are actively negotiating with the White House, I expect they’ll probably come to a place where enough of them can support it without it going to Trump’s desk.
Of course Trump doesn’t want to have to veto it either, as that would establish a rebuke by at least some Republicans.