WASHINGTON — As the House prepared to approve a measure to repeal President Donald Trump's emergency border declaration Tuesday, the resolution appeared to be on the verge of capturing enough Senate support to pass when the upper chamber votes on it next month.
The House planned to vote around 5:15 p.m. ET Tuesday on a resolution offered by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, to terminate Trump's emergency declaration. It was expected to pass easily, with the Senate then required to hold a floor vote on the measure within 18 days.
"We've got 230 cosponsors [in the House]," Castro said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" — more than the number of votes needed for the resolution to pass. "There are three Republican senators now who it looks like they've said that they will support it. We need one more."
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., became the third Republican Monday evening to say that he plans to back the resolution once it reaches the upper chamber.
"As a U.S. senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress," Tillis wrote in an op-ed published by The Washington Post. "As a conservative, I cannot endorse a precedent that I know future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies that will erode economic and individual freedoms. These are the reasons I would vote in favor of the resolution disapproving of the president's national-emergency declaration, if and when it comes before the Senate."
Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have also both indicated that they would vote in favor of the resolution.
"I want to see the language of the resolution to make sure that there aren't other issues out in there, but assuming it is a clean resolution, I will support it," Collins told reporters on Capitol Hill Monday.
Both Tillis and Collins are up for re-election in 2020.
Under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, Congress has the ability to try to end an emergency status instituted by the president. Once it passes the House, the measure would be sent to the Senate, where — unlike most legislation — GOP leaders could not block it from reaching the floor. Federal law requires that the Senate take up the House-passed resolution within 18 days.
Assuming all Senate Democrats supported the resolution, only four Republicans would need to defect for Democrats to secure the 51 votes needed to send it to the president's desk.
Administration aides have already made clear Trump would veto any effort that interfered with his declaration, and the measure is unlikely to attract anywhere near the GOP support needed to overturn a presidential veto.
Democrats argue that the measure is more focused on the separation of powers, not the fight over a border wall.
"That's what tomorrow's vote is about: Not a wall, but the Constitution," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Monday. "The wall is an important issue, but the Constitution is a transcendent issue and the issue will be whether or not the Congress of the United States will exercise the authority given to it under Article I."