Compromise seeks to limit president's emergency declarations

Courtesy C-Span  YouTube

Courtesy C-Span YouTube

Four other Republican senators have publicly expressed reservations about the emergency declaration, anxious that a Democratic president could someday point to Trump's action to justify declarations of their own on matters the GOP opposes.

Pelosi and other House Democrats have argued that Trump's emergency declaration, which he is using as a way to spend more on barriers at the border than Congress has authorized, violates the Constitution. If Trump would commit to signing a bill handcuffing future emergency declarations, more GOP senators might support his border emergency declaration in Thursday's crucial vote.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday the House of Representatives will not consider a Republican bill to amend a federal national emergencies law after President Donald Trump used the declaration in a bid to get money for his long-promised border wall.

Opposition by a few Republican senators to President Donald Trump's emergency declaration at the U.S. -Mexico border appears to be softening.

Barring a last-minute deal on some other face-saving measure, up to a dozen Republicans could join all Senate Democrats in voting to send the disapproval resolution to Trump's desk, setting up the first veto of his presidency.

Congress does not have the votes to override Trump's veto. Current law requires Congress to pass a resolution of disapproval to block emergency declarations it deems inappropriate.

Lee's proposal, released late Tuesday, says a presidential emergency would last 30 days unless Congress votes to extend it.

Trump tweets: "We have a MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY at our Border and the People of our Country know it very well!"

"We're going to have a news conference at the border over the next three weeks", Trump told reporters at a briefing at the White House on drug trafficking.

Trump's move comes just one day after Vice President Mike Pence indicated to Republican senators in a closed-door meeting that Trump was open to Lee's legislation as a way to avoid an embarrassing public rebuke that would expose rifts within the GOP.

The White House and GOP senators are working on a compromise that would limit the power of presidents to declare national emergencies on their own.

Trump made his views known in a phone call with Lee, as the conservative senator lunched with fellow Republicans at the Capitol, according to a person familiar with the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe it. He announced later that he would be voting for the resolution to terminate the declaration.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a Trump ally who has signaled that he opposes the president on both the declaration and the war in Yemen, said it's "good for the country" that lawmakers are taking steps to reassert Congress' constitutional powers of the purse and the power to declare war. That vote could well occur after Congress returns from a recess later this month.

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