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 TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid 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 LeeMcConnell shores up GOP support for coronavirus package McConnell tries to unify GOP Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump 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 CornynTumultuous court battle upends fight for Senate Texas Democrats roll out first wave of planned digital ads as Election Day nears Calls grow for Biden to expand election map in final sprint MORE (R-Texas), a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally The Memo: Dems face balancing act on SCOTUS fight 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 AlexanderGraham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy This week: Supreme Court fight over Ginsburg's seat upends Congress's agenda MORE (R-Tenn.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy Murkowski: Supreme Court nominee should not be taken up before election Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight 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 RubioMurky TikTok deal raises questions about China's role Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Florida senators pushing to keep Daylight Savings Time during pandemic 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.