House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she plans to move “swiftly” to hold a vote within the coming days on a resolution to invalidate Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration.
In a letter to her House colleagues, Pelosi said Trump’s usurpation of power to build his border wall “undermines the separation of powers and Congress’s power of the purse.” Trump’s declaration allows him to raid about $6 billion in funding budgeted for other purposes and redirect it toward his wall. Trump has also admitted that he didn’t “need” to invoke an emergency, he simply wanted to build the border wall faster. But Pelosi took issue with Trump’s end run around Congress.
“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,” Pelosi wrote, encouraging lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to vote for the disapproval resolution.
Such a resolution need only pass both chambers by majority vote and, if the House passes it, the Senate is required to give it a vote. If all Senate Democrats voted for the measure, it would have to attract the support of just four GOP senators in order to clear the upper chamber. Trump can ultimately issue a veto, which could only be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both chambers.
But the effort will nonetheless force Republicans in both chambers to go on record either in support of Trump’s power grab or against it. Many Republicans have already expressed deep unease with Trump’s move, making it unlikely that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be able to hold his caucus together on such a vote. And if the measure passes through both chambers, Trump can be expected to go on the war path.