13 Republicans Join House Dems to Block Trump's National Emergency

Snow covers Nogales, Ariz., left, and Nogales, Mexico, separated by the border wall, on Feb. 23, 2019 as seen from Mexico. A winter storm dumped record-breaking amounts of snow here. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

WASHINGTON — The House voted 245-182 this evening, with 13 Republicans joining the majority Dems, to block President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to raid other appropriations for money to build a border wall.

The GOPs voting in favor of Rep. Joaquin Castro’s (D-Texas) resolution of disapproval were Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Will Hurd (Texas), Dusty Johnson (S.D.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Francis Rooney (Fla.), Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Fred Upton (Mich.), and Greg Walden (Ore.).

“I’m 100% in favor of President Trump’s wall, and today’s vote had nothing to do with the need to build it. For the same reason I was against President Obama using his ‘pen and phone,’ I voted to disapprove of this unilateral executive action,” tweeted McMorris Rodgers.

Once in the Senate, four Republican defectors would be needed to send the bill to President Trump’s desk. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) have said they will vote for it.

Both chambers currently lack the majorities needed to override Trump’s guaranteed veto pen.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told reporters earlier in the day that “the president’s declaration is a phony, fraudulent, and fake national emergency.”

“There is no crisis at the border. The president’s actions are manufactured, manipulative, and represent a misappropriation of taxpayer resources inconsistent with the United States Constitution,” Jeffries said.

“There is no crisis at our Southern border. There is no basis in law or in fact to declare a national emergency. There is no increase in illegal crossings that our border. There is no increase in criminal activity at our border. There is no increase in drug trafficking at our border,” he continued. “There is no evidence that terrorists are coming into the United States of America along our Southern border. President Donald Trump has more stories than Harry Potter and all of them are make-believe. That is why House Democrats are proceeding with a resolution of this approval with respect to this fake national emergency.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) argued at a GOP leadership media availability that “Democratic presidents have used this power because they have the right to use this power.”

“A number of presidents, republican and Democrats, have used this power for numerous things. And they have the power to do it. Congress had voted to allow it,” McCarthy said.

Asked why Republicans didn’t recognize the border as a national emergency a couple months ago when the party was still in control of the lower chamber, McCarthy replied that “times change as it moves forward.”

“When you get the more reports of the amount of drugs coming across, you get the more reports of the human trafficking and others, 60,000 people arrested each month. I think when you have the experts telling you the challenge — I think the president tried to do everything in his power to work with the House and the Senate,” he said. “I think the president’s belief was always that we could come to an agreement to solve this along what the experts have requested. I think at the end of the day the president has a responsibility to make sure it gets protected. And he made the decision.”

The small House Liberty Caucus, which includes libertarian-leaning Republicans, urged support for the resolution of disapproval because “at the heart of the American constitutional system is the doctrine of separation of powers: Congress makes the laws; the president executes the laws; and the Supreme Court decides cases and controversies.”

“Few dispute the president’s ability to act quickly to address a real emergency, but simply saying something is an emergency does not make it so and cannot on its own trigger emergency powers,” said the caucus, led by Amash. “Under our constitutional system, an emergency declaration permitting the president to take unilateral action is valid only in an actual emergency, which is necessarily limited to a situation in which immediate action is needed, Congress has no opportunity to act, and the president’s proposed response can be accomplished quickly. If any of these is not true, it cannot be an emergency necessitating (or permitting) presidential action without the consent of Congress.”

An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.)