Pelosi Prepares a Trump Smackdown

Pelosi Prepares a Trump Smackdown


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday night that the House will “move swiftly” to vote on a resolution to terminate President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the border with Mexico.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter to members of Congress — both Democrats and Republicans — Pelosi urged lawmakers to back the resolution, which would represent an extraordinary rebuke to the president after his announcement last week that he would look to bypass Congress to get funding for his border wall.

Pelosi said Trump’s declaration “undermines the separation of powers and Congress’s power of the purse” under the Constitution. "All Members take an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution," Pelosi wrote, according to CNN. "The President's decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated.”

House Democrats on Friday will introduce the disapproval resolution authored by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX). It’s not clear when the measure will come up for a vote — it would be reported out of committee within 15 calendar days and considered on the House floor within three calendar days after that, Pelosi’s letter said —  but it is expected to pass easily in the Democratic-controlled House.

The resolution would then have to be put to a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate within 18 days, and the outcome there is far less certain. Just four GOP senators would have to join with all the chamber’s Democrats to approve the resolution, and a number of Republicans have been critical of Trump’s declaration — though some have backed away from their earlier criticisms. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on Wednesday became the first Republican senator to say she would vote against Trump's emergency declaration.

If the measure does pass the Senate, Trump would surely veto it and lawmakers likely would not have the votes to override him.

Whether the resolution ultimately passes both chambers or not, Democrats are intent on forcing Republicans to go on record about Trump’s invocation of executive power. Democrats are reportedly likely to also sue the administration or join another lawsuit challenging Trump’s emergency declaration.

The White House, meanwhile, is reportedly pushing ahead with its plans to reallocate $3.1 billion in federal funds not contingent on the emergency declaration for use in wall construction.

The bottom line: Legal challenges are still the best bet for those seeking to block Trump’s emergency declaration and border wall, but the disapproval resolution will be politically fraught for Republican lawmakers.