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WASHINGTON — A former Republican officeholder — who was highly effective at his job — recently asked me if returning to politics in the current atmosphere was worth the effort. Would being a GOP legislator in the Trump era involve too many sacrifices of principle? Does federal office even matter as much as it used to? Wouldn’t writing books or running a charity be a better use of time and talent?

I understand the reluctance. Being a public official in 2019 not only requires constant fundraising and family sacrifice, it involves the possibility of being captured by smartphone camera at nearly every public moment and being subjected to constant internet calumny. And it is not possible in much of the country for a Republican to run and win as an anti-Trump candidate. Even Mitt Romney had to pull back from his criticisms of President Trump to win a Senate seat.

These concerns are a concentrated version of a dilemma faced by many citizens. Is politics too damaged to justify our continued engagement as donors, activists and voters? Wouldn’t it be more effective and satisfying to improve the community in nonpolitical ways — giving to a soup kitchen instead of a politician, volunteering at a senior center instead of knocking on doors in a precinct?

These questions have a personal relevance. In a variety of public and private posts over the last 30 years, I have done my part to give the center-right party in America an agenda and message of social justice, rooted in ideals of solidarity with the poor and suffering and a concern for the common good. That project is in ruins. The constituency for compassionate conservatism (as a friend put it) is less of a political party than a dinner party. The main messages of today’s GOP are demographic panic, ethno-nationalist pride and a nihilistic destruction of norms, institutions and elites.

So why should a Republican run for office, donate to a candidate or even stay in a party that has gone off the moral rails?

My best answers:

Because the moment is perilous. The next two years may see a crisis of democratic legitimacy. It is quite possible that the pressures of investigation could further destabilize the president’s personality, causing him to lash out in unpredictable and unconstitutional ways. It is quite possible that Trump will question the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election if he loses. In either scenario, responsible Republican figures would be required to defend the integrity of federal law enforcement or the electoral process. And this may determine a great deal about the country’s future.

Because the moment is not permanent. Having left behind a trail of ruin, Donald Trump will one day face his own reckoning — from federal law enforcement, from the impeachment process or from a disgusted electorate. The essential work beyond that point will be institutional repair. Someone will be charged with restoring honor, integrity and dignity to the office of president of the United States, to the leadership of the House and Senate, and to the Republican Party (if its reputation is not broken beyond repair). Someone will be charged with reaching across jagged divisions and restoring a sense of shared national purpose. Someone will need to reknit the shredded democratic norms of civility, moderation and compromise.

Because the demands of conscience and justice remain pressing. Bluntly: The argument that citizens should take a break from politics because it is so corrupted and corrupting is often made by relatively comfortable white people. If you lived in a neighborhood where the schools are dysfunctional and the foster system is dangerously broken, there would be no vacation from governmental failure. If you lived in a country where young women are routinely infected with HIV or where children die from malaria, America’s global role would matter greatly to you. Those who downplay the importance of politics are generally insulated from the consequences when governing goes wrong. The demands of justice do not go away when citizens are disillusioned with the practice of politics. To the contrary, the scale of injustice tends to increase as responsible citizens abandon the political enterprise.

To my Republican friend thinking about running for office: We are headed into a time of political testing, when the right words from a responsible conservative might turn some crucial tide. It is also a time when some form of a center-right party (whatever it is called) will be reconstituted at the national level. And it is always a time when the suffering and vulnerable need allies.

Our nation was fortunate in the quality of its founders. Soon our political culture may require a re-founding. And this is a high calling.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

Source: Real Clear Politics

Scott Morefield | Reporter

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs criticized Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and other Republican critics of President Donald Trump’s latest comments about late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Speaking with former Reagan’s campaign director Ed Rollins on Wednesday evening about the president’s recent positive polling within the Republican Party, Dobbs gave GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel “great credit” before ripping Trump’s GOP critics.

WATCH:

“These are better numbers than Reagan had and Nixon had when they both had 49 state victories,” Rollins said, referring to the fact that 78 percent of Republicans are enthusiastic about Trump. “I am not predicting that, but I’m simply predicting there are a lot of Republicans out there ready for the fight. They are proud of this president. They want this president reelected.”

“We’re starting to see some movement within the party,” Dobbs noted. “And by the way, I think Ronna McDaniel deserves great credit, the chair of RNC, for holding the line and supporting this president with full support, when there are people like, say, Mitt Romney for example, undercutting this president because he made some nasty remarks about John McCain. There is a reason for those nasty remarks. There is a history between those two men. And the people who are attacking him, including Mitch McConnell attacking the president for his views on John McCain, is asinine.” (RELATED: Trump Says John McCain Put Him In ‘Jeopardy’ By Giving Dossier To FBI)

Romney tweeted Tuesday his criticism of Trump’s McCain comments, writing:

Dobbs and Rollins ended the segment with a discussion about McCain’s Obamacare vote and the “bad history” between Trump and the late senator.

“I knew John well, and liked him over the years,” said Rollins. “But the reality is Trump did what he had to do and won a big, big election …”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, came to the defense of the late Sen. John McCain on Tuesday after President Donald Trump launched another verbal attack at the former war hero and POW.

"I can't understand why the president would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God," Romney tweeted.

Trump and McCain feuded ever since the former called into question McCain's status as a war hero during the 2016 presidential campaign. McCain, who died last August after a battle with brain cancer, also cast the deciding vote that prevented the Senate from repealing Obamacare in 2017. It has been reported McCain gave the FBI a portion of the salacious, unverified dossier about Trump shortly before Trump took office.

Trump tweeted his displeasure at McCain over the weekend, and he followed that up with more bashing in front of the White House press corps Tuesday afternoon.

Source: NewsMax Politics

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CARLSBAD, Calif. — In the days and weeks after California Republicans suffered staggering losses up and down the ticket last November, the party’s outlook for the future was anything but sunny.

Voter turnout across the state in 2018 set a record for a midterm election, which was not a good sign for the GOP. High voter participation traditionally benefits Democrats, and turnout across the state is all but certain to increase even more in the coming presidential campaign year.

Running as a Republican, especially now in President Trump’s long, overbearing shadow, has never been tougher in California, where two out of three voters either disapprove or downright despise the president.

Combined with the GOP’s anemic voter registration here, which last week slipped to a reported 23.5 percent — five points behind “no-party preference” — many state Republicans are preparing for another major blow in 2020.

A month ago, however, state party delegates may have avoided a complete death spiral by electing Jessica Patterson (pictured), an attractive millennial Latina, as the party chair, opting against unrepentant Trump acolytes Travis Allen and Steve Frank. Supporters applauded Patterson’s energetic pledge to unite and reorganize the party, though many still didn’t see a clear path forward.

But then national Democrats and the party’s leftward lurch, led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, started lighting the way.

“I am certainly more optimistic today than I was after the election and significantly more so,” said Stephen Puetz, a GOP campaign consultant with Axiom Strategies who previously served as chief of staff to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican re-elected in 2016 in the majority Democratic city. “We’re going to take back some of these House seats. I don’t know if we’ll take back six – but we’ll take back some.”

Puetz is fresh off an invigorating campaign win in a special election contest for an Orange County Board of Supervisors seat. Irvine Mayor Don Wagner defeated Loretta Sanchez, a well-known liberal former congresswoman.

The hard-fought victory in the once-Republican stronghold, which has been trending more liberal in recent years, was particularly gratifying for Puetz and other Republicans after Reps. Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher, who have represented the county for decades in the state legislature and Congress, fell to Democratic challengers in November.

“Some California Republicans might have been concerned about the direction of the party [under Trump], but now they have seen the alternative and this push toward socialism – and it scares them, as it should,” Puetz told RealClearPolitics. 

California Freshmen Dems Fret Over Socialism Push

Republicans aren’t the only ones recoiling from national Democrats’ far-left turn. Newly elected California House Democrats from traditionally red districts, such as Katie Hill and Harley Rouda, now fear the socialist label could cost them re-election and swing the House majority back to the GOP.

Over the last week, some Democratic House freshmen have started lashing out against their brasher colleagues’ support for socialism, impeachment and the divisive Green New Deal.

Hill, who last November flipped a Los Angeles-area district that Republicans had held for decades, made it clear she’s not jumping on the Ocasio-Cortez bandwagon. “As we run up to this presidential [election], we need to show that Democrats, as a whole, are not socialists,” she told Politico last week. “We’re not pushing for impeachment without serious cause and serious evidence.”

Rouda, a businessman and former Republican who defeated 15-term Rep. Rohrabacher, also distanced himself from his freshman class’s far-left flank.

“I’d like to think that the Republican Party is not run by a bunch of folks that subscribe to be nationalists, like Steve King does,” he said, referring to the Iowa congressman who lost his committee seats after making controversial statements on white supremacy and nationalism. “So while Steve King’s views don’t represent the entire Republican Party, those on the far left of the Democratic Party do not represent the mainstream caucus.”

This open Democratic grousing is music to California GOP operatives’ ears.

 “[Speaker Nancy] Pelosi is not in control of her caucus, and she has got to figure out a way to rein in these three complete narcissists,” said Jason Roe, a Southern California-based Republican campaign strategist, referring to Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Omar. “Any punishment that Pelosi can mete out is a victory for them. They are disrupters, and if they are being punished for disrupting, it’s exactly what they want. You can’t use traditional levers of power with them.”

Roe is telling his GOP clients running for office in California to “stay away from litigating Trump and start litigating AOC and the left – this is the gift that keeps on giving.”

Murphy: California GOP Must Tack Center-Right

Republicans shouldn’t get too excited about the Democratic clashes playing out on the national stage, according to Mike Murphy, one of the most high-profile and longest-serving GOP political consultants in the country.

Murphy acknowledged that national Democrats are making significant mistakes right now but cautioned that Pelosi still has time to straighten it all out before voters really start paying attention to the 2020 presidential election.

“Politics is very dynamic – and yes, Democrats may be stumbling around right now, but that doesn’t mean they are going to keep doing it and hand Trump the election,” said Murphy, an admitted Never-Trumper who has run more than 20 statewide or national campaigns, including Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential, as well as gubernatorial races for Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Murphy now co-directs the University of Southern California’s Dornsife Center for the Political Future, along with Democratic consultant Bob Shrum.

Republicans in California battlegrounds, he argued in an interview, should stop catering to GOP primary voters and instead distance themselves from Trump and tack to the center-right.

“[The party] needs to recruit younger candidates who look a lot more like Californians – Latinos and Asians – and become a brand known for kitchen-table economic issues that are attractive to small-business owners, where a lot of the jobs are created,” he told RealClearPolitics. “We need to be perceived as the party who has remedies for that – we need to get out of the issues surrounding hypersensitivity to immigration and [promoting] nativism and hostility” that’s perceived by the gay community and others.

“We need to align the message to be center-right, not totally responding to the cult of Trump, which resonates more with the primary voter. Making them happy makes sure you lose statewide,” he added.

Murphy supports Patterson, the newly elected GOP chairwoman, but says she faces a near-impossible task of rebuilding the party with Trump still in office, comparing the California GOP’s future to that of the Democratic Party’s seemingly permanent minority status in Utah.

“I think our best chances are in 2022, because I think [Trump] will lose” the presidential race, he predicted.

New GOP Chairwoman: One-Party Rule Is Failing California Voters

Unsurprisingly, Patterson threads the needle more carefully.

An experienced political operative who worked for former Gov. Schwarzenegger, 2010 gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and 2008 presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, Patterson has set up extensive statewide political networks and worked closely with party donors. For the past few years she’s served as executive director of California Trailblazers, an organization that trains Republican candidates.

Patterson, 38, knows those candidates must reflect their districts to have any chance of winning. Indeed, the political makeup of GOP-leaning districts varies wildly throughout the state, from pro-Trump eastern San Diego County and parts of the Central Valley, to northern Los Angeles stretching into Ventura County where Latinos make up nearly 40 percent of the population and voters chose Hillary Clinton over Trump, 50 percent to 44 percent.

 “I was always the person in the race that was talking about uniting the party – I didn’t try to break the party into factions,” Patterson said. “We are all Republicans, and I would rather focus on the 90 percent of things we can agree on than the things that we don’t. So I will always be about addition, not subtraction, and growing and engaging more people.”

While Patterson is the first woman to run the state GOP, she doesn’t play the gender card even while stressing that her top priority will be broadening the party’s appeal beyond its base.

“Being a woman is just kind of a bonus,” she said.

During a lengthy interview, Patterson wasn’t critical of Trump but she also clearly didn’t want to tie the party too closely to him. She quickly deflected when asked if she supports the president’s signature campaign promise to build a border wall.

“I support border security,” said Patterson, whose paternal grandfather was born in Mexico. “Republicans and Democrats in Washington are going to have to get to an agreement on what they think that looks like.”

Pressed further, specifically regarding Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in order to fund the barrier, she said, “That’s something for the people in Washington, D.C., to hash out.”

As to whether the California GOP is going to campaign for the president’s re-election, she said Trump will be focused on winning swing states, not California, leaving Golden State Republicans to run highly localized races.

“The issues that are affecting Californians the most aren’t coming out of Washington, D.C. – they are the silly things that are coming out Sacramento … that will make your life less affordable and your schools worse and worse.”

California has the second highest gasoline tax in the nation; home prices are high because environmental and other regulatory red tape is stifling construction; groceries are more expensive than they would otherwise be because the state has over-regulated farming and the high gas taxes lead to higher transportation costs, she argued.

“Instead of fixing those problems, the Democrats are focused on plastic straws, reusable cups and plastic [grocery] bags,” she said. “When our education system has fallen to 47th in the nation, something is wrong. When we are the poverty capital of the entire country, something is wrong. What [Democrats] are doing is not working.”

Patterson went on to cite a February survey by Edelman Intelligence showing that 53 percent of all of Californians and 63 percent of millennials in the state think they’re going to have to leave because the state has become unaffordable.

“This has all happened under one-party rule in California,” she said.

Instead of banking on the socialist label to help flip seats back into Republicans hands, Patterson said the party is committed to building the infrastructure and outreach needed to compete for independents.

Still, she noted, federal Democratic lawmakers who have supported their Sacramento colleagues’ tax-and-spend policies for years can’t suddenly start casting themselves as sensible centrists.

“The opportunity for local Republican candidates to contrast their value and vision with Democrats is how we will regain seats and our standing,” Patterson said. “The good news is that Democrats in California and across the nation are singing from the same songbook, and they’re out of tune with middle-class families.”

“While they continue to take Californians for granted, we’ll be working overtime to earn their confidence,” she pledged.

Susan Crabtree is a veteran Washington reporter who has spent two decades covering the White House and Congress.

Source: Real Clear Politics

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

  • Freshman Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Mike Braun of Indiana are the cosponsors of the Banning Lobbying and Safeguarding Trust (BLAST) Act.
  • Scott and Braun want to put an end to lawmakers stepping into the so-called “revolving door of K Street” — using their connections to become well-heeled lobbyists once they are out of office.
  • “I think that here you’d attract better people if you didn’t have them make a career out of it,” Braun told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Republican Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, co-sponsor of a recently introduced bill banning ex-members of Congress from lobbying Congress, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview his bill would help get Congress out of a “rut” — but he’s not expecting the legislation to gain traction anytime soon.

“I think that here you’d attract better people if you didn’t have them make a career out of it,” Braun said. “But so many incentives are put in place with pensions, the ability after you’re done to become a lobbyist, so you do nestle in, and then you start maybe not making the right long-term decisions. You basically make a decision: what will be best for me to nestle in further, be around here longer.”

Braun and Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott are the cosponsors of the Banning Lobbying and Safeguarding Trust (BLAST) Act, introduced Feb. 28. Braun connected the legislation to his reform agenda, including doing away with taxpayer-funded pensions for members of Congress(RELATED: Two Senators Introduce Bill To Keep Members Of Congress From Cashing In As Lobbyists)

Although the lawmakers are “barking up the right tree,” their solution might not be realistic, a government transparency expert told TheDCNF.

(L-R) Incoming Senator Mike Braun, incoming Senator Mitt Romney, incoming Senator Josh Hawley, incoming Senator Marcha Blackburn, Florida Governor and Senatorial connate Rick Scott, and incoming Senator Kevin Cramer pose with Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (3rdR) before a meeting on Capitol Hill November 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

(L-R) Incoming Senator Mike Braun, incoming Senator Mitt Romney, incoming Senator Josh Hawley, incoming Senator Marcha Blackburn, Florida Governor and Senatorial connate Rick Scott, and incoming Senator Kevin Cramer pose with Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (3rdR) before a meeting on Capitol Hill November 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

“You generally do see more of a reform agenda from some of the newer members that come into the Senate or into the House. We’re hoping some of their policies actually gain traction and can be supported in a bipartisan way,” Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, said in a phone interview. “The public is tired of politics as usual.”

Scott and Braun want to put an end to lawmakers stepping into the so-called “revolving door of K Street.” Current law mandates ex-House members must wait a year to lobby their former colleagues, while ex-senators must wait two.

Few have voiced opposition to the BLAST Act, but Braun predicts “people from everywhere coming out against it” if it ever received a committee hearing. 

“Part of it would have to be where you grandfather the people that are here so you can get people to vote for it,” Braun said. “To be honest, there’s not enough urgency among the average individual here … That’s what we’ve had running the place the last three, four decades and look at the results.”

Scott and Braun’s bill could have unintended consequences, Bruce Mehlman of lobbying firm Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas told TheDCNF.

“The bigger challenge is that registered lobbying represents only a small part of the total spent on influencing government policy, and this proposed law would merely encourage even more ex-Members to avoid disclosure while serving as ‘senior advisors,’ ‘strategists’ or ‘consultants at law and PR firms,’” Mehlman said in an email.

“Whenever you’ve got a system that is so ingrained like this one, I’m sure there will be resourceful ways to skirt,” Braun said in response. “If you craft good legislation from the get-go … you have a way to at least throw something out there as the first barricade.”

Braun also discussed President Donald Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” slogan, which the senator said he used some while campaigning.

“I think [Trump] just shook the system, like maybe on the Richter scale a seven earthquake, but not many buildings toppled,” Braun said.

Braun and Scott want to topple those buildings one at a time, although it’s slow-going. Both were in the small club of freshman senators who arrived on Capitol Hill for the start of the 116th Congress. They would always beat the other lawmakers to lunch by at least 15 minutes, and a friendship was born, Braun said.

“Scott said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve always believed in being punctual,’ and I said, ‘Well, I just like to be the first one in the food line,’” Braun said with a laugh.

They’ve worked on numerous reform-minded pieces of legislation together, including a bill introduced during the partial government shutdown to cut off congressional salaries if Congress fails to pass a budget. It gathered more than 10 cosponsors.

“I think until Scott and I got here a lot of people spoke about it in their campaigns, but we’re in here actually dropping bills. That’s the difference,” Braun said.

Braun is serving his first term in the Senate after beating former Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly in a close race during the 2018 midterm elections. A former state representative, Braun grew his father’s automotive parts business Meyer Distributing and has a multimillion-dollar net worth. He self-funded his Senate campaign through the Republican primary, reported The Indianapolis Business Journal.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump vetoed a congressional disapproval resolution of his national emergency declaration at the U.S. southern border Friday afternoon, in a ceremony at the Oval Office.

Trump’s national emergency declaration nearly a month ago is paired with a number of executive actions designed to make approximately $8 billion of funding available to begin construction on a wall along the southern border.

The resolution passed the Republican controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled House by a large majority and officially registers a rebuke of Trump’s action. The resolution is non-binding however unless both chambers of Congress are able to muster a two-thirds majority, support they are not currently able to demonstrate.

Trump made his intentions clear before the vote in a simple tweet:

Twelve Republicans joined the Democrats in voting for the resolution saying that Trump is circumventing Congress’s enumerated power of the purse to appropriate funds and using them as he pleases. Nearly all have noted that future Democratic presidents would exploit Trump’s action and declare their own national emergencies to fulfill campaign promise

The senators’ main concern centered on the idea that Trump is circumventing Congress’s enumerated power of the purse to appropriate funds and use them as he pleases. Nearly all have noted that future Democratic presidents would exploit Trump’s action and declare their own national emergencies to fulfill campaign promises. (RELATED: 3 Senate Republicans Are Banding Together To Support Resolution To Terminate Trump’s National Emergency)

They included Sens. Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Toomey, Roy Blunt, Lamar Alexander, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Jerry Moran, Mike Lee, and Roger Wicker.

Trump made clear ahead of the vote and after the vote that he would issue a swift veto. The veto will likely put the matter to rest as neither chamber of Congress appears to have the necessary two-thirds majority to overturn Trump’s veto.

Source: The Daily Caller

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican opposition grew Thursday to President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwest border as the Senate chugged toward a showdown vote that seemed certain to rebuff him despite his last-minute warnings.

GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Mitt Romney of Utah Romney became the sixth and seventh Republicans to say they’d vote Thursday for a resolution to annul the border emergency Trump declared last month.

Just four GOP defections would ensure the measure would be sent to the White House, where Trump has promised a veto. There is no indication that foes of his declaration have the votes to overturn his veto, and Trump said as much at midday.

“I’ll do a veto. It’s not going to be overturned,” Trump told reporters. “It’s a border security vote.”

He did not answer when reporters asked if there would be consequences for Republicans who vote against him.

But a White House official said Trump won’t forget when senators want him to attend fundraisers or provide other help. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on internal deliberations.

Trump wants to use his declaration to steer $3.6 billion more than Congress has approved for building border barriers than Congress has approved.

Vice President Mike Pence toured a Customs and Border Protection training facility in West Virginia Wednesday. He thanked border agents for protecting the country and called on Congress to approve President Trump's border emergency declaration. (March 13)

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Trump’s rejection of Lee’s proposal left many Republicans boxed in: defy Trump and the conservative voters who back him passionately, or assent to what many lawmakers from both parties consider a dubious and dangerous expansion of presidential authority.

Democrats, set to oppose him, said there was no emergency at the border. They said Trump issued his declaration only because Congress agreed to provide less than $1.4 billion for barriers and he was desperate to fulfill his campaign promise to “Build the Wall.”

“He’s obsessed with showing strength, and he couldn’t just abandon his pursuit of the border wall, so he had to trample on the Constitution to continue his fight,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

On the Senate floor, Alexander — one of the chamber’s more respected lawmakers — said Trump’s emergency action was “inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I took an oath to support,” citing the power Congress has to control spending. Romney, his party’s 2012 presidential nominee, used a written statement to called Trump’s declaration “an invitation to further expansion and abuse by future presidents.”

The defections by the two high-profile lawmakers added weight to the growing list of GOP opponents to his border emergency, and left little doubt that the Republican-run Senate would snub Trump. The challenge in a battle related to his signature issue — building barriers along the Mexican border — is striking.

Thursday’s vote would be the first time Congress has rejected a presidential emergency under the 1976 National Emergency Act. While presidents have declared 58 emergencies under the statute, this is the first aimed at acquiring money for an item Congress has explicitly refused to finance, according to Elizabeth Goitein, co-director for national security at New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice.

On Twitter, Trump called on Republicans to oppose the resolution, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., helped drive through the House last month.

“Today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!” he tweeted, invoking the name of a Democrat who boatloads of GOP ads have villainized in recent campaign cycles.

Republicans had hoped that if Trump would endorse a separate bill by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, constraining emergency declarations in the future, it would win over enough GOP senators to reject the resolution blocking his border emergency.

But Trump told Lee on Wednesday that he opposed Lee’s legislation, prompting Lee himself to say he would back the resolution thwarting the border emergency in Thursday’s vote. Trump tweeted Thursday if Congress wants to amend the law governing emergency declarations in the future, “I will support those efforts.”

Other GOP senators who’ve said they’d vote to overturn Trump’s border emergency were Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Tillis, though, has wavered in recent days. He and Collins face potentially competitive re-election fights in 2020.

Republicans control the Senate 53-47.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is backing Trump, went to the White House late Wednesday to see if some compromise could be reached that would help reduce the number of GOP senators opposing the border emergency, according to a person familiar with the visit who described it on condition of anonymity. Trump’s Thursday comments indicated the visit didn’t produce results.

The National Emergency Act gives presidents wide leeway in declaring an emergency. Congress can vote to block a declaration, but the two-thirds majorities required to overcome presidential vetoes make it hard for lawmakers to prevail.

Lee proposed letting a presidential emergency last 30 days unless Congress votes to extend it. That would have applied to future emergencies but not Trump’s current order unless he sought to renew it next year.

The strongest chance of blocking Trump is likely several lawsuits filed by Democratic state attorneys general, environmental groups and others.

___

Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

Even Romney Who is a #NeverTrumper backs Trump on the #Shutdown Agreeing with Trump’s stance on the partial government closure, Romney backed Trump’s call for a wall on the southern boundary and also states he doesn’t comprehend the Democrats’ placing on the problem. ” You (Pelosi) and also your fellow Democrats have voted for over […]


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