Yesterday the House of Representatives failed to override President Trump’s first veto. Last month, the president vetoed the resolution halting his use of a national emergency to reallocate funds from other programs to construction of the wall.
The House attempt had the support of a majority of congressmen but fell 38 votes short of the two-thirds majority required by the Constitution to override a veto. In all, 248 congressmen, including 14 Republicans, voted to override the veto. The move was opposed by 181 Republicans and no Democrats.
The Republicans who voted to rein in the president’s emergency declaration were Justin Amash (Mich.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Penn.), Mike Gallagher (Wisc.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Calif.), William Hurd (Texas), David Johnson (S.D.), John Katko (N.Y.), Thomas Massie (W.V.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Tom Rooney (Fla.), Jim Sensenbrenner (Wisc.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Fred Upton (Mich.), and Greg Waldon (Ore.). Two other Republicans, Kay Granger (Texas) and Joe Wilson (S.C.), joined Democrat Jackie Speier (Calif.) in not voting on the bill.
The override attempt picked up six votes over the original House bill passed in February. Thirteen House Republicans supported that bill while 12 Senate Republicans voted against the national emergency.
The override attempt occurred on the same day that the Senate Republicans staged a show vote on Alexandra Ocasio Cortez’s proposed Green New Deal. In the upper chamber, Democrats refused to stand for the unpopular measure, which was defeated 57-0 with 43 Democrats voting “present.”
In a day of show votes, it is likely that the Republicans got the worst end of the deal. While Democrats eluded Mitch McConnell’s attempt to put them on record defending the Green New Deal, House Republicans walked into a trap set by Nancy Pelosi.
The override attempt was doomed to fail, but the short-term victory has put Republicans in a tight spot. Even though Republican voters solidly support Trump’s proposed wall, the nation at large is split on the issue. Polling from February found that about a third supported the wall while another third called it “totally unnecessary.” The remaining third supported border security but said that there were “better options” than the proposed wall. Despite, or perhaps because of, President Trump’s hard line on immigration, the number of Americans who want increased immigration has increased by nine points since 2016.
If support for the wall is closely divided, support for the national emergency is not. Polling has consistently shown that Americans oppose the use of the national emergency by double-digit margins with opposition to the wall reaching 60 percent or higher at times.
Morning Consult pointed out the difficulty for Republicans earlier this month. Seventy percent of Republican voters are more likely to back a congressman who supports the president on the national emergency, but 60 percent of other voters say that upholding the national emergency declaration makes them less likely to vote for a candidate. A large majority, 78 percent, said the issue will be a factor in their vote.
President Trump’s emergency declaration placed congressional Republicans into a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t situation. Supporting the president looks good to primary voters, but could cause trouble in the general election. The 14 Republicans who crossed the aisle have the opposite situation. Both groups are in trouble with one group of voters or the other.
Unlike the Senate vote on the Green New Deal, the vote to uphold President Trump’s veto and protect his expansion of presidential power at congressional expense is likely to be remembered when voters go to the polls next year. Republican incumbents who protected the president may fare well in primaries, but their failure to hold the president accountable may cost the party dearly in November.
Originally published on The Resurgent