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 TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' 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 LeeOn The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity 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 CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Bipartisan House bill calls for strategy to protect 5G networks from foreign threats Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' MORE (R-Texas), a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' New Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes 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 AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access Bipartisan senators reveal sweeping health care package Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Senate GOP votes to permanently ban earmarks Jim Carrey fires back at 'Joe McCarthy wanna-be' Cruz 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 RubioFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package 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.