GOP plan would limit power to declare emergency


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said she would not bring to the floor proposed legislation to overhaul the National Emergencies Act, which could politically protect Republicans reluctant to vote against President Donald Trump's national emergency at the border.

The legislation would give Republicans cover and allow Trump to violate the Constitution just this one time, in hopes of limiting Republican defections before Thursday's vote to terminate Trump's fake national emergency.

"The House will not take up this legislation to give President Trump a pass", the Democratic leader said in a statement.

Her announcement might make it harder for Republicans to prevent a high-profile rebuff of President Donald Trump's effort to divert more money to building barriers along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Trump said "we'll see" whether he has to veto the congressional resolution ending his emergency declaration.

Lee's so-called Article One Act could give political leverage to Republicans who believe the executive branch has too much power, but don't want to cross Trump by voting in favor of a bill blocking his border emergency declaration.

The Republicans who have publicly said they will vote for the resolution include Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rand Paul of Kentucky - somewhere between seven and 15 Republicans remain conflicted on the disapproval resolution, according to a senior Republican aide familiar with the discussions. All of the senator's voiced concern that Trump was circumventing Congress's enumerated power of the purse to appropriate funds and use them as he pleases.

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That outcome now looks less likely, although several senators declined to predict Wednesday whether the disapproval resolution would in fact pass.

"After Pelosi's comments, Republicans countered, asking why Democrats would have issued 81 document requests to people associated with President Trump if they're not already planning on impeachment".

Congress would be highly unlikely to muster the two-thirds majorities needed to eventually override a veto. John Cornyn, R-Texas, an adviser to Senate GOP leadership, said of the eleventh-hour White House lobbying effort.

The proposal would not affect the current emergency declaration at the border but would for future declarations, including those issued by Trump.

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.

Brown said he doesn't object to finding a "long term answer", to keep presidents from declaring emergencies in non-emergency situations, but said he didn't know of any cases where past presidents abused the law.

A vote on Lee's plan was expected after Congress returns from a recess later this month.