Monday, February 25, 2019


Josh Marshall really believes that the Senate as well as the House could vote to block President Trump's emergency declaration. Marshall is assuming that two Republican Senate votes are already in the bag:
The [anti-emergency-declaration] measure would only needs 51 votes to pass the Senate, as it is not subject to the filibuster. If Democrats all support it, as expected, only four Republicans would need to split off to pass it and force Trump to issue his first veto. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said she plans to vote for the resolution of disapproval of Trump’s border wall declaration over the weekend, joining Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who said earlier she’d likely vote with Democrats on the measure. That means Democrats likely need just two more defectors to pass the measure.
But Murkowski's vote isn't etched in stone, as Marshall's own link notes:
“I want to make sure that the resolution of disapproval is exactly what I think it is, because if it is as I understand it to be, I will likely be supporting the resolution to disapprove of the action,” Murkowski reportedly said Friday.
Susan Collins isn't a lock, either. She said something similar last week:
“If it’s a ‘clean’ disapproval resolution, I will support it,” she told reporters, according to The Associated Press.
Now, what does Marshall say about the resolution?
By law, once the measure is introduced in the Senate, it will be sent to committee, where it must receive a vote within 15 calendar days. Whether it passes in committee or not, it will be reported out of committee and must get a vote on the Senate floor three days after that.

The measure can be amended, giving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) some room to maneuver to try to kill it. But it’s unclear how much it can be amended and what poison pills can be added. It appears that McConnell would be blocked from adding a provision for border wall money to the resolution of disapproval, for instance. And while McConnell has flipped to support Trump’s move, it’s unclear at this point how hard he’s willing to work to block a vote on a bill many of his own members want to vote on.
(Emphasis added.)

Marshall knows McConnell and the rest of these people much better than I do, but I think the ornery old bastard will happily add something to this bill to make it "unclean" and not "exactly what" Murkowski thinks it is.

Marshall notes that quite a few Republican senators have objected to the declaration and that some (Mike Lee, Rand Paul) have been willing to oppose Trump from the libertarian/"constitutionalist" right, while others (Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis, Martha McSally) will run for reelection in purple states next year, and others (Johnny Isakson, John Cornyn) might be vulnerable if 2020 is a Democratic wave year. Also, Lamar Alexander has grumbled about the declaration, and he's retiring, so he doesn't really have to watch his right flank anymore.

Marshall may be right about Lee and Paul, and about Alexander. I'm less convinced in the case of the senators running for reelection -- they'll want to shore up their bases, if only to avoid primary challenges.

And Marshall is totally off base regarding two lickspittles: Mitt Romney, whom he describes as having "shown a willingness to buck Trump on other issues," and Marco Rubio. Marshall says of Rubio, "on national security issues he’s shown more spine than on other topics" -- but that bar is so low it's practically subterranean.

Trump can veto a disapproval resolution, and there's no way there'll be a two-thirds majority in the Senate to override it. Maybe McConnell and the White House are resigned to that. Trump would enjoy vetoing the bill and having his veto sustained.

But I think McConnell might want total victory, just for sport, and for the liberal tears. And I wouldn't bet against him getting that win.

UPDATE, TUESDAY MORNING: Last night, The Washington Post published an op-ed by Thom Tillis in which he unambiguously promised to vote against the emergency declaration. This may inspire more defections -- or maybe not. We'll see.

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