By Jon Dougherty
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that thanks to the ‘defection’ of Kentucky colleague Sen. Rand Paul, enough Republicans would join all Democrats in voting down POTUS Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border last month.
That said, McConnell added that he expects the president to veto the rejection, which is in the form of legislation, of course, and that Congress won’t have the two-thirds majority in both chambers to override it.
“I think what is clear in the Senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the House,” McConnell said while speaking to reporters in Kentucky.
Paul’s objection is probably the most ‘constitutional’ of the three other Republicans who have announced they would oppose it: Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Susan Collins of Maine; and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who have said they oppose the action because they’re afraid of the ‘precedent it might set’ if a Democrat wins the Oval Office at some point in the future.
Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), have yet to say how they will vote, but they have also expressed ‘concerns.’
Paul, meanwhile, said he objects on the grounds that the president would be spending money for border walls and other physical barriers that Congress didn’t appropriate — though technically speaking, that’s not correct, either.
Congress has appropriated money POTUS will use to fund border security projects. Money the president’s team has identified for use has been appropriated to various agencies like the Defense Department, just not for anything specific — all of which means the president can earmark it for anything he likes. So Paul’s objection is window dressing, at best.
And it’s pointless because, as McConnell said, POTUS Trump is going to win this battle anyway. So all Paul and the three RINOs are doing is handing Democrats a political victory which they will use to maximum effect as the 2020 election cycle begins. Think of this Democratic presidential ad: “Even the president’s own party disagreed with him on the existence of a border emergency,” yada, yada.
Granted, the president’s supporters aren’t going to be swayed by any Democrat message about border security because the Donkey Party has proven they’re not interested in anything except amnesty for future voters and open borders.
But there are definitely “fence-sitters” among the electorate who could be persuaded by a disingenuous Democratic ad like this, and that’ll be thanks to some of the same Republicans who are whiffing on the president and border security now after doing so time and again when the GOP held the majority in Congress for Trump’s first two years.
Paul is at least consistent. As a libertarian-leaning Republican, he’s always been about constitutional process, federalism, and small government. The other three are just Washington establishment products who, like their Democratic colleagues, are #NeverTrumpers.
The difference is the Democrat Party is playing for keeps — on this issue and every other one as well — while the GOP continues to believe beyond any reason that all is well, there is no threat to the survival of our republic, and, worse, if there really is, it’s Trump, not Democratic ‘socialists’ and Marxists, who pose it.
They couldn’t be more wrong, as at least some conservatives are aware.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10