Senate talks collapse on avoiding Trump showdown over emergency declaration

Senate Republicans say talks to find a way to stop a House-passed resolution disapproving of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says US has coronavirus 'totally under control' Senate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial Collins breaks with GOP on attempt to change impeachment rules resolution MORE’s emergency declaration over the southern border are collapsing amid Republican divisions over what some see as a breach of separation of powers. 

Senate Republicans said Wednesday afternoon that Trump will not support a proposal sponsored by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it Sens. Kaine, Lee: 'We should not be at war with Iran unless Congress authorizes it' Overnight Defense: War powers fight runs into impeachment | Kaine has 51 votes for Iran resolution | Trump plans to divert .2B from Pentagon to border wall MORE (R-Utah) to reform the National Emergencies Act of 1976 and require Congress to approve future emergency declarations after 30 days. 

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“It’s my understanding the president won’t support it,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Cornyn disputes GAO report on withholding of Ukraine aid: It's 'certainly not a crime' MORE (R-Texas), a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial Collins breaks with GOP on attempt to change impeachment rules resolution Roberts admonishes House managers, Trump lawyers after heated exchange MORE’s (R-Ky.) leadership team, after meeting with colleagues at lunch to discuss the state of the talks.

Lee announced Trump’s position after taking a call from the president during the lunch meeting, according to a person familiar with the conversation. 

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) told reporters after Wednesday's meeting that it’s clear the disapproval resolution will pass.

“'Dandy' Don Meredith used to sing a song at the end of the game when the result was obvious. It was called turn out the lights the party’s over. Well, that’s appropriate right now,” he said, referring to the former NFL quarterback. 

“It’s time to vote, everybody knows how they’re going to vote. I don’t think the president’s going to win this one.” 

There was a flash of hope Tuesday that a deal could be worked out with the White House whereby Trump would promise to support legislation curbing his power to declare future national emergencies in exchange for Republicans defeating the disapproval resolution. 

But Trump decided against curbing his own presidential power, GOP senators said.

The disapproval resolution faces a certain Trump veto, and there’s not enough support in either the House or the Senate to override it. 

“This president, like any other president, is not going to give up power that Congress has given him in the past. It’s been there since the 1970s. Why would this president give it up?” said a Republican senator who requested anonymity to talk about internal discussions. 

The GOP senator said increasingly strained efforts by Republican colleagues to work out a deal to avoid passage of the disapproval resolution has “gotten to the point of being absurd.”

“I look at my colleagues and say, why would you expect a president to give up his power? Would President Obama have given it up? I don’t think so,” the lawmaker added. 

Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSenate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules McConnell proposes compressed schedule for impeachment trial Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial Cruz: White House not expected to push motion to dismiss impeachment articles Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump MORE (R-Texas) are still pushing a proposal to pass an alternative resolution that would wall off the money available for Trump to redirect to building border barriers, said Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioApple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Surging Sanders draws fresh scrutiny ahead of debate MORE (R-Fla.), who discussed the idea earlier on Wednesday with colleagues. 

Alexander and Cruz want to limit Trump’s ability to redirect funding to a drug interdiction fund under the Department of Defense and an asset forfeiture fund under the Treasury Department, Rubio said. 

But that proposal has been on the table for “a while,” according to another senator, and has failed to generate much momentum.

Cruz declined to comment on Wednesday. 

“At this point I think it’s best to keep the conversations within the conference and directly with the administration,” he said. 

Jordain Carney contributed to this story.