Trump readies first veto | 12 GOP senators break with Trump on emergency declaration

President Trump is preparing to issue the first veto of his administration, underscoring the sometimes-fractious relationship between the White House and Republicans in Congress.

The GOP-controlled Senate voted 59-41 on Thursday to revoke Trump’s national emergency declaration at the southern border. Two targeted Republicans up for reelection in 2020 — Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) — supported the president.

It is rare for a president to use a veto on a bill sent to his desk by his own party, and rarer still for Congress to veto a national emergency declaration.

Twelve Republicans voted against the president, arguing that the end-run around Congress to secure additional border wall funding was an unconstitutional power grab.

The resolution does not have enough support to override Trump’s expected veto, but the rebuke was all the more pointed because the president pleaded with Republicans to stand behind him, and Vice President Pence spent several days on Capitol Hill trying to negotiate a way out.

In the end, GOP lawmakers said Trump didn’t seem all that interested in a deal. The president seems happy to continue the border security fight on his own, believing it’s a winning political issue for him.

The resolution revoking the emergency declaration marked the second time this week that Senate Republicans broke with Trump.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a resolution requiring the president to withdraw U.S. troops from the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, unless they’re fighting al Qaeda. If the House takes up and passes that bill up, it will likely result in Trump’s second veto — and a debate about war powers.

Just over two years into office, the president encountered at least a half-dozen legislative showdowns with members of his party in Congress. GOP lawmakers say lack of trust in some of Trump’s decisions and political anxieties are at the heart of the pushback.

A quick recap:

  • The House by a decisive 420-0 vote in both parties on Thursday communicated to the White House that special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report should be made public. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump ally, blocked it from getting a vote in the Senate (The Hill).
  • Several GOP senators in the last Congress tried to force a vote on a resolution to protect Mueller’s investigation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) intervened to keep it from getting a vote.
  • A bill imposing new sanctions on Russia and limiting the president’s ability to lift the sanctions passed through the last Congress with a veto-proof majority. Trump signed the bill into law, but called it “significantly flawed” and said it contained several “unconstitutional provisions.”
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) on Thursday in introducing a measure to “protect the integrity” of the process of approving security clearances for White House senior advisers, to ensure “it cannot be abused for political purposes.”
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