It appears that the House will vote to block President Trump’s National Emergency Declaration sometime this week. Under the existing law Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has no choice other than to put the resolution on the Senate floor for consideration within 15 days of its passage in the House and delivery to the Senate. Each Senator will have to decide whether their loyalty is to the Constitution that they swore to uphold and protect or to the head of the organized criminal enterprise in the White House. It is that simple and clear. Let’s explore.
Assuming the House passes the resolution on Tuesday, by my understanding of the rules in this matter the Senate would have to take the vote up the week of March 11th. Since the filibuster does not apply in this case I expect it to pass. I then expect Trump to veto it. While it is not a certainty I think there is a very good chance the House can get the required two-thirds to override setting up a showdown in the Senate.
In my mind and the minds of the majority of Americans Trump is making a clearly unconstitutional power grab. There are a plethora of other issues with Trump’s national emergency declaration – not the least of which is that there is no emergency in the first place – but that is not the issue at hand. The question is whether 20 Republican Senators will be patriots or enablers. Is their loyalty to the United States Constitution or to Trump? Are they more concerned about the welfare of America or their chances in a primary or a nasty tweet?
Interestingly, as of this writing there are 20 Republican Senators who will be defending their seats in 2020. (The GOP is defending 22 seats but Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Pat Roberts of Kansas have already announced their retirements at the end of the current term.) They are: Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, David Perdue of Georgia, James Risch of Idaho, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Martha McSally of Arizona.
Some of them are in safe seats but many are not. It’s early but McSally has already drawn an extremely formidable opponent in Mark Kelly. If they vote to uphold Trump’s veto it will hurt them in two ways. First, it will make potentially strong Democrats much easier to recruit because the race will look more winnable. Second, it makes a hell of an ad/GOTV talking point against the Republican. If I were the Democratic candidate or their manager in 2020 and my GOP opponent voted with Trump either time that is a vote that I would make them constantly defend during the general election campaign. It is an issue of loyalty, integrity and patriotism and I’d question theirs at every opportunity.
Are they loyal to the Constitution or the crook? We’ll see.
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